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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). In English, this is often changed to "HSwMS" ("His Swedish Majesty's Ship") to differentiate Swedish vessels from those of the Royal Navy.
The old Swedish kings (ca. 9th–14th centuries) organised a Swedish Royal Navy along the coastline through 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 advancement of warfare. No later than in the 14th century, the duty to serve in "ledungen" was replaced by a 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.
For most of the twentieth century the Swedish Navy focused on the threat of a full-scale invasion of Sweden via the Baltic and protecting commercial shipping. Sweden's location on the Scandinavian peninsula makes it highly dependent of maritime trade: 90% imports and exports enter or leave Sweden through the Baltic. In 1972, the government decreed that non-military measures should be used to protect merchant shipping. The resolution led to the de-commissioning of all the navy's destroyers and frigates, though the non-military measures the government intended to use to protect shipping have never been specified.
The collapse of the Soviet Union diminished the threat of an invasion of Sweden over the Baltic.. However, with the re-armament of Russia, its unstable democratic development, and the potentially increased strategic importance of the Baltic Sea has led to continued support[by whom?] for Swedish naval patrols in the Baltic. In 1995 Swedish mine-clearance units furthermore took the lead in clearing the waters of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania of thousands of mines and other explosives.
The Swedish Navy has four units that are capable of deploying within 30 days. These are a corvette squadron (two Göteborg class) with a support ship, a mine countermeasures 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 navy first participated in a UN-led peacekeeping mission in October 2006 when the corvette HSwMS Gävle began performing coastal surveillance duties for the United Nations Mission in Lebanon. HSwMS Gävle was relieved by HSwMS Sundsvall, which returned to Sweden in September 2007.
HSwMS Malmö, Stockholm, and Trossö took part in the EU-led EUNAVFOR operation off the coast of the Horn of Africa. In 2010, HSwMS Carlskrona was the EUNAVFOR flagship, housing the fleet headquarters led by RADM (LH)(Flottiljamiral) Jan Thörnqvist.
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 Chief of Staff Royal Swedish Navy and Commander Maritime Component Command (Marininspektören), Rear Admiral Jan Thörnqvist, who is the senior representative of the Swedish Navy’s combat forces.
The Marine units use the same system of rank as the Army.
- 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 at the Muskö naval base.
- Karlskrona naval base (MarinB) located at Karlskrona with detachments at Berga, Göteborg and Skredsvik.
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 1990s.
The government's 1972 de-commissioning of all destroyers and frigates 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. Gotland has been on lease with crew and all to the US Navy and was 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.
|Stockholm class||2||Karlskronavarvet AB||Sweden|
|Göteborg class||2||Karlskronavarvet AB||Sweden||total of 4 ship completed.2 in service and 2 decommissioned.|
|Visby class||5||Karlskronavarvet AB||Sweden||2 commissioned|
|Landsort class||5||Karlskronavarvet AB||Sweden|
|Koster class||2||Karlskronavarvet AB||Sweden|
|Styrsö class||4||Karlskronavarvet AB||Sweden|
|Tapper class||12||Djupviks varv||Sweden|
- Landing craft
- Auxiliary vessels
- HSwMS Carlskrona (M04) (Ocean Patrol Vessel and Support Vessel (former Mine Layer M04)- participated in EUNAVFOR operation ATALANTA off the Horn of Africa in 2010)
- HSwMS Visborg (A265) (Älvsborg-class support vessel, decommissioned)
- HSwMS Trossö (A264) (modified Russian Akademik Shuleykin class) patrol craft tender
- HSwMS Arkösund (minelayer)
- HSwMS Furusund (minelayer)
- HSwMS Fårösund (minelayer)
- HSwMS Grundsund (minelayer)
- HSwMS Belos (A214) (submarine salvage vessel)
- HSwMS Urd
- HSwMS Ägir (dive tender)
- Torpedo salvage vessels
- Transport ships
- SIGINT vessels
- Ships for navigation education
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Swedish Navy.|
- Royal Swedish Society of Naval Sciences
- List of Swedish wars
- List of Swedish military commanders
- List of Swedish monarchs
- List of ships of the Swedish Navy
- List of coastal defence ships of the Royal Swedish Navy
- Swedish Admirals
- Swedish Navy - Official site (English) (Swedish)
- Göran Frilund - The Swedish Navy 1788–1809
- Minsveparen M 20 webpage