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The Swedish Navy
Marinen vapen bra.svg
Coat of arms of the Swedish Navy.
Founded June 7, 1522
Country Sweden
Part of Swedish Armed Forces
Commanders
Current
commander
Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad
Insignia
The Swedish Naval Ensign Naval Ensign of Sweden.svg

The Swedish Navy (Swedish: Marinen) is the naval branch of the Swedish Armed Forces. It is composed of surface and submarine naval units – the Fleet (Flottan) – as well as marine units, the so-called Amphibious Corps (Amfibiekåren).

In Swedish, vessels of the Swedish Navy are given the prefix "HMS," short for Hans/Hennes Majestäts Skepp (His/Her Majesty's Ship). Some other navies, but not the Swedish Navy itself, use "HSwMS" (for "His Swedish Majesty's Ship") in English for Swedish Navy ships when it is necessary to differentiate them from vessels from Her Britannic Majesty's Royal Navy.

Contents

History

The old Swedish kings (ca. 800s - 1300s) organised a Royal Swedish Navy along the coastline via an organisation referred to as "ledungen". These would be combined rowing and sailing ships (without artillery). This organisation became obsolete with the development of society and warfare. Probably no later than in the 14th century, the duty to serve in "ledungen" was replaced by tax. In 1427, when Sweden was still part of the Kalmar Union (with Denmark and Norway), Swedish warships did however participate in the naval battle of Öresund (the Sound) against the Hanseatic League. It is unclear how this force was organised and exactly on what basis.

On June 7, 1522, one year after the separation of Sweden from the Kalmar Union, Gustav Vasa purchased a number of ships from the hanseatic town of Lübeck which is often recorded in official Swedish history since the 19th century as the birth of the current Swedish Navy. (The museum ship Vasa in Stockholm was e.g. a 17th-century ship of the Royal Swedish Navy (Kungliga flottan)).

The Amphibious Corps dates back to January 1, 1902, when a separate "Coastal Artillery" (Kustartilleriet) was established, and Marinen came into use as the name of the service as a whole. The last decade of the 20th century saw the abandonment of the coastal fortifications and the force became a more regular marine corps, renamed Amfibiekåren (the Swedish Amphibious Corps) in 2000.

Organization

Until recently, the Navy was led by the Chief of the Navy (Chefen för Marinen, CM), who was typically a Vice Admiral. This office has been eliminated, and the highest officer of the Navy is now the Naval Inspector (Marininspektören), Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad.

The Marine units uses the same system of rank as the Army.

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Naval units

  • 1st Submarine Flotilla (1. ubflj) located at Karlskrona
  • 3rd Naval Warfare Flotilla (3. sjöstridsflj) located at Karlskrona
  • 4th Naval Warfare Flotilla (4. sjöstridsflj) located at Berga

Amphibious units

  • 1st Marine Regiment (Amf 1) located in Berga

Bases

  • Naval Base (MarinB) located at Karlskrona with detachments at Muskö, Berga, Göteborg, Visby, Malmö and Härnösand.

Equipment

The Swedish destroyer HMS Östergötland, decommissioned 1982

In the decades following World War II, the Swedish Navy was organised around three light cruiser groups (Tre Kronor, Göta Lejon and Gotland). In the early 1960s a decision was implemented to scrap the cruisers and move towards a lighter fleet. The last cruiser, Göta Lejon, was sold in 1970 to Chile, where she was renamed Almirante Latorre. The fleet at the time comprised some 24 destroyers and frigates for surface warfare (mainly in the Baltic Sea) and anti-submarine warfare.

The Swedish Navy started to experiment with missiles, based on a recovered German V-2 missile, as early as 1944. The main armament of the fleet was artillery and torpedoes for surface warfare and anti-submarine rockets for anti-submarine warfare. Helicopters (Alouette, Boeing Vertol) were introduced in the late 1950s and 1960s and this fleet air arm remained an integral part of the fleet and its operations until an independent helicopter arm was created in 1990's.

In 1972 the government decided to scrap all military protection of merchant shipping to allow the de-commissioning of all destroyers and frigates. This limited the endurance of the navy considerably, but the use of smaller short-range ships was at the time deemed adequate by the government for anti-shipping missions along the coast and in the archipelago. In the 1980s this assessment was proven wrong by repeated failures by the Swedish Navy in anti-submarine warfare operations with inadequate ships and equipment. Today the largest (surface) combat ships are corvettes which combine surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine clearance functions with a better endurance and seaworthiness than the budget fleet from the 1980s.

Since the 1980s Swedish surface warships have been named after Swedish cities, while submarines are named after Swedish provinces and minehunters after Swedish lighthouses. The surface ships are mostly small, relying on agility and flexibility. Examples of these are the Stockholm and Göteborg class corvettes. The Navy is currently taking into service the new, larger, Visby class of stealth corvettes. A new submarine class, Gotland, similar to the older Västergötland, has recently been commissioned. Its air-independent Stirling engine enables submerged endurance never before seen in conventional submarines. The Gotland is presently on lease with crew and all to the US Navy and is based in San Diego.

The Marine Battalion is built around the Stridsbåt 90H, a small combat boat capable of carrying 21 troops for fast transports and landings in the archipelago. It is also equipped with larger transport boats, but relies on the army, navy and air force for heavy transports and protection.

Surface vessels

Göteborg-class corvette Gävle (K22)
HMS Jägaren

Corvettes

Class Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Stockholm class 2 Karlskronavarvet AB  Sweden
Göteborg class 4 Karlskronavarvet AB  Sweden 2 to be sold
Visby class 5 Karlskronavarvet AB  Sweden Entering service after 2010

Minesweeper

Class Number
of ships
Builder Origin
Landsort class 5 Karlskronavarvet AB  Sweden
Koster class 2 Karlskronavarvet AB  Sweden
Styrsö class 4 Karlskronavarvet AB  Sweden

Patrol Boat

  • Tapper class (decommissioned)
  • HMS Jägaren (1 in service)

Combat Boat

Submarines

Auxiliary vessels

School ships

  • Ships for navigation education
    • HMS M20 - used as a museum ship (see the external link below)
    • HMS M21 - decommissioned
    • HMS M22 - decommissioned
    • HMS Viksten
    • HMS Altair (A501)
    • HMS Antares (A502)
    • HMS Arcturus (A503)
    • HMS Argo (A504)
    • HMS Astrea (A505)

Strategy

For many years the Swedish Navy was built around mainly two tasks, to stop a full-scale invasion over the Baltic Sea and protection of Swedish merchant shipping (Sweden's geographical location on the Scandinavian peninsula effectively makes it an island. 90% of all import and export to Sweden is performed by merchant shipping). In 1972, the government at the time however decreed that other measures than military should protect merchant shipping (no details were ever disclosed what those "other measures than military" would actually consist of).

Today the navy is changing rapidly. With the collapse of the Soviet Union it is argued that the only viable threat in the local area disappeared. However, with the re-armament of Russia, its unstable democratic development, and the potentially increased strategic importance of the Baltic Sea , there are voices that Sweden needs to patrol the Baltic Sea. From 1995, Sweden and Swedish mine-clearance units furthermore took the lead in clearing the waters of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from thousands of mines and other explosives.

The army and air force have a strong presence in UN missions. The Swedish Navy has four rapidly deployable units on 30 days standby. These are a corvette squadron (two Göteborg class) with a support ship, a minecountermeasures squadron (two Landsort class) with a support ship, one submarine, and a forward naval support element. In the near future there will also be an amphibious unit on 30 days standby.

The Swedish naval UN operation started in October 2006 when the corvette HMS Gävle joined the United Nations Mission in Lebanon, UNIFIL for surveillance missions along the coast of Lebanon. HMS Gävle was relieved by HMS Sundsvall, which returned to Sweden in September 2007.

HMS Malmö, HMS Stockholm and HMS Trossö is currently taking part of the EUNAVFOR operation out side Africa

See also

References

External links


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