The Swedish Navy (Swedish Marinen) is the naval branch of the Swedish Armed Forces. It consists of surface and submarine naval units – the Fleet (Flottan) – as well as marine units, the so-called Amphibious Corps (Amfibiekåren).
On June 7, 1522, merely a year after the separation of Sweden from the Kalmar Union, King Gustav I purchased a number of ships from the hanseatic town of Lübeck which is seen as the birth of the Navy. HMS Wasa was a 17th-century ship of the Swedish Navy, then known as 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 the Amphibious Corps in 2000.
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 abolished, and the highest officer of the Navy is now the Naval Inspector (Marininspektören), Rear Admiral Jörgen Ericsson.
The Amphibious Corps uses the same system of rank as the Army. The present Commander-in-Chief of the Swedish Armed Forces, General Håkan Syrén, was taken from this service.
- 1st Submarine Squadron (1. ubflj)
- 2nd Surface Battle Squadron (2. ysflj)
- 3rd Surface Battle Squadron (3. ysflj)
- 4th Mine Warfare Squadron (4. minkriflj)
- Vaxholm Amphibious Regiment (Amf 1)
- Älvsborg Amphibious Regiment (Amf 4)
- Southern Coast Naval Base (MarinB S)
- Eastern Coast Naval Base (MarinB O)
Unlike many of the larger navies the Swedish was changed into a costal defence force after the Second World War and is not meant to project force on other countries. It lacks many of the ships vital to battle far from land, such as aircraft carriers, cruisers, nuclear submarines and destroyers. The largest combat ships are corvettes. This limits the endurance of the navy, but small, advanced, short-range ships are far better suited for combat along the costs, in the archipelago and in the Baltic Sea.
Most surface ships of the Swedish naval units are named after Swedish cities, while the submarines are named after Swedish provinces. The surface ships are mostly small, relying on agility and flexibility. Examples of these are the Ystad class robot boats and the Stockholm and Gothenburg class corvettes. The Navy is currently developing a new class of stealth corvettes, the Visby. Also, a new submarine class, Gotland, similar to the older Westrogothia class, has recently been commissioned. Its air independent Stirling engine enables submerged endurance never before seen in conventional submarines.
The Amphibious Corps is built around the Stridsbåt 90H, a small combat boat capable of carrying 21 soldiers for fast transports and landings in the archipelago. It is also equipped with larger transport boats, but relies on the navy for heavy transports and protection.
For many years the Swedish navy was built around a single task, to stop a full-scale invasion over the Baltic Sea, preferably by creating massive losses before the enemy could reach the shore. Today the navy is changing rapidly. With the collapse of the Soviet Union the only viable threat in the local area disappeared. The army and air force has a strong presence in UN missions, but the navy has so far lacked the tools, as it has been too specialized on defence. This is beginning to change with the addition of the new Visby corvettes, as they are close to the size needed for international missions.
Due to the small size the combat ships in the Swedish navy are quite cheap and have been replaced frequently. The oldest combat ships are missile boats of Norrköping class that dates back to 1974, most other ships are late 1980 to early 1990 constructions. The older ships have been upgraded several times.
- Swedish Navy (http://www.marinen.mil.se/) - Official site