The submarine fleet of Sweden will help ease some of NATO’s vulnerability in Northwest Europe, specifically in the Baltic Sea. The Baltic represents a bottle neck for several countries with access restricted through the Danish Strait separating Sweden and Denmark. Sweden’s key to keeping those waters navigable during a conflict is an experienced submarine fleet.
The Baltic Sea, sometimes referred to as a ‘sunken meadow’ has an average depth of about 60 meters (196.85 feet) by comparison, Lake Erie, the shallowest of the Great Lakes has an average Maximum depth of 64 meters (210 feet). The Baltic is also unique in that it has many rivers feeding into it, this varies the salinity level affecting submarine buoyancy and sound detection. Sweden’s conventional powered submarines have extensive experience in those shallow waters, they’ve been operating there since 1904.
Swedish Conventional boats have extended submerged time because their design includes liquid oxygen storage tanks that allows diesels to run and charge batteries while submerged. Finally, Sweden is also modernizing, expecting new design A26 class vessels ready for commissioning in 2027 and 2028.