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Combat Fleets: Sweden

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On 3 September the first of Sweden’s newly upgraded Visby-class guided-missile patrol craft was turned over to the Swedish military after having completed extensive modifications that bring her up to “Level 5” standard. All five units of the class previously were expected to be operational by late 2007, but because of additional delays the decision was made to upgrade the class to enhance safety and performance—and to better support international operations, which often take place far from Swedish waters.

A. A. de Kruijf

A. A. de Kruijf

The subsequent Level 5 enhancements that are being added to the entire class through 2014 include additional command, control, and communications equipment and antennas; a helicopter landing system; enhanced mine-hunting equipment; and other improvements. The Visby class incorporates numerous advanced measures to reduce its radar, infrared, magnetic, acoustic, visual, laser, and wake signatures. Ships of the class include the Visby, Helsingborg, Härnösand (pictured here), Nykõping, and Karlstad, each of which measure 239 feet and displace more than 600 tons.


On 28 August Colombia commissioned two Type 206A submarines recently retired from the German navy. The diesel boats have been named the Intrepido, formerly U23, and Indomable, formerly U24. The two were among six Type 206A boats decommissioned from the German navy between late 2010 and early 2011. Thailand previously had announced plans to get two of the units, but the acquisition was called off earlier this year. Built during the 1970s, Type 206A submarines displace 520 tons submerged and are 159 feet long.

Naval Press Service (Michael Nitz)

Naval Press Service (Michael Nitz)

In German service they typically carried a crew of four officers and 18 enlisted personnel. Intended for patrol operations off the German coast, the submarines will be “tropicalized” for operational service in South American waters. The Intrepido and Indomable join two German-built Type 209 submarines already in Colombian naval service.


The third and final Moroccan frigate built under the SIGMA (Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach) program was delivered on 8 September in Rotterdam by the Dutch shipyard Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding. The Allal Ben Abdellah is numbered 615 and joins sisters Tarik Ben Zayid, which entered Moroccan service in September 2011, and Sultan Moulay Ismail, which was commissioned in March of this year.

Frank Behling

Frank Behling

Both the Allal Ben Abdellah and Sultan Moulay Ismail measure 321 feet and displace 2,075 tons, while the larger 344-foot Tarik Ben Zayad has an extra 24-foot hull section providing command-and-control facilities, increasing displacement to 2,335 tons and enabling the corvette to serve as fleet flagship. Each vessel is fitted with a helicopter hangar and armed with one 76-mm gun forward, two 20-mm guns aft, four Exocet antiship missiles, 12 vertically launched Mica surface-to-air missiles, and two triple torpedo tubes.

Categories: Budget Industry, Education Legislation, Foreign Forces, Submarine Forces, Surface Forces

About Eric Wertheim

Eric Wertheim is a defense consultant, columnist, and author specializing in naval and air force issues. As an author and editor, he tracks, analyzes, and compiles data and photography on every vessel, aircraft, and major weapon system in every naval and paranaval force in the world–from Albania to Zimbabwe. The work is published as the Naval Institute Press’ definitive Guide to Combat Fleets of the World. Eric has served as speechwriter for senior Pentagon officials and as a consultant to best-selling authors, publishers, and nonprofit organizations–and has been instrumental in the advancement of numerous high-technology weapons and concepts. A columnist for Proceedings magazine since 1994, he is co-author of Chronology of the Cold War at Sea, among other books.