Three years ago, Kockums, the Swedish national submarine manufacturer was sold by the Swedish government to Germany’s ThyssenKrupp, but after uncertainty over jobs and boat building guarantees, it appears the Swedish government is angling for Saab to take control of the Malmo-based ship-building yard.
In a clear statement of intent, Sweden’s procurement agency FMV announced on Feb. 27 that it was allocating $3.84 million to test whether or not Saab had the ability to design and build the next generation of Swedish submarine.
The move was spawned by disappointment coming from the Swedish Defense Ministry that Thyssen wouldn’t give guarantees that ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, what Thyssen renamed the old Kockums yard in Malmo, would continue to be a large-vessel producer in the region. Additionally, the ministry was concerned because Thyssen hadn’t provided fixed prices for the delivery of two new A26 generation subs and mid-life refits for the Gotland-class submarine.
That said, the failure for TKMS to get finalize those contracts has put jobs in jeopardy, says Thyssen. But Saab’s emergence as a possible buyer for the yard, according to the Swedish Defense Ministry, is because it’s believed that Thyssen is going to reorganize the 1000 unionized workers in Malmo and is to begin the manufacturing of small-sized subs and surface vessels up to 1000 tons. The New A26 class boats and those awaiting refit are around 1900 tons.
The Swedish government procurement agency has said that Thyssen’s reluctance to ioffer fixed prices for the new boats and upgrades means it is currently not possible to move forward to the build stage as it is not practical, sustainable or best use of taxpayer’s money.
Saab has contended that it could meet the needs to design, build and refit submarines, however, it has declined to comment suggestions that it might take control of the TKMS yard.