Sweden Has A Sub That's So Deadly The US Navy Hired It To Play Bad Guy
Sweden's submarine force is relatively tiny, just five boats make up the entire inventory, but those five vessels are extremely stealthy and lethal, especially their three Gotland Class diesel-electric submarines. Entering service in the mid 1990s, the 1600 ton displacement Gotland Class was the first operational Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines in the world, which gave them the previously unprecedented operational ability (for non-nuclear submarines at least) to stay submerged for weeks at a time
The Gotland Class can also act like a traditional diesel-electric submarine and run on its standard diesel engines while surfaced or snorkeling. It can also run on battery power alone, where it can hit speeds up to 20 knots submerged. The capability to patrol silently for weeks on AIP, run un-stealthily on its standard diesel engines, or rocket through the water for shorter periods on silent battery power alone, give the Gotland Class a certain tactical agility that is very hard for the enemy to predict.
The Gotland Class measures 200 feet in length and are just over 20 feet in width. They are crewed with an incredibly lean compliment of 24 sailors and officers. These submariners are put through exhaustive psychological and physiological testing to make sure they can handle life aboard the small vessel.
As for weapons, these capable little submarines feature four 533mm torpedo tubes that can fire the time-tested and heavy hitting Bofors Underwater Systems Type 613 torpedoes. The "Torpedo 613" is an incredibly powerful anti surface ship weapon, packing a range of about 12 miles, an engagement speed of 40kts and a massive high-explosive warhead weighing in at nearly about 650lbs. A newer updated multi-role heavy torpedo that can be used against both surface and submarine targets is also carried by the Gotland Class, called the 'Torpedo 2000.' This cutting edge weapon has double the range of the Torpedo 613, although less raw explosive power. Sixteen 533mm class torpedoes can be carried at any given time about the HMS Gotland and her two sisters ships.
What makes this small and quiet sub even more deadly is her combat management system which is truly state of the art and is said to feature an incredibly user friendly interface. During a single attack, the system can guide multiple torpedoes at once, which can result in more than a mission kill for even very large naval combatants like aircraft carriers, with each torpedo striking in a different section of the hull if ordered to do so.
The Gotland Class boats then participated in open-ocean exercises in the Atlantic where they trounced much more advanced Spanish, French and US players, including a French nuclear fast attack sub and the American Los Angeles Class SSN, the USS Houston.
Other exercises soon followed and the little Gotland Class boats continued to be a very lethal force to reckon with. By the mid 2000s, other countries were starting to field or develop AIP capable diesel-electric submarines, including Russia and especially China. Since the US Navy had retired its last diesel-electric (non-AIP) attack submarine in 1990, the USS Blueback (now a local resident here at Oregon's Museum of Science & Industry) there was no indigenous force to practice hunting down diesel-electric subs, yet alone ones with advanced AIP capabilities. Thus the US Navy went to Sweden hat in hand in hopes of leasing one of their ninja-like Gotland Class boats, and its crew, for a year. The Swedish sub would be playing the adversary to America's massive constellation of anti-submarine surface combatants, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, and especially nuclear submarines. The Swedes granted this request and the Gotland was shipped to San Diego aboard a mobile drydock.By mid summer of 2005 the Gotland arrived in San Diego and war games immediately commenced. Apparently the Navy got more than they were bargaining for when it came to finding and engaging the stealthy little sub. The Gotland virtually "sunk" many US nuclear fast attack subs, destoryers, frigates, cruisers and even made it into the 'red zone' beyond the last ring of anti-submarine defenses within a carrier strike group. Although it was rumored she got many simulated shots off on various US super-carriers, one large-scale training exercise in particular with the then brand new USS Ronald Reagan ended with the little sub making multiple attack runs on the super-carrier, before slithering away without ever being detected.Seeing as the HMS Gotland can sneak its way through many miles and layers of anti-submarine defenses surrounding a US super-carrier, entering literally the most defended and highly surveyed area in the world, one would think sneaking up on a Russian midget sub would be well within Sweden's stealthy sub's repertoire.
Then again, maybe they actually have been hard at work over the last six days of the search as they still would have at least another week before they would even have to come up for air. The same can be said for Russia's new AIP submarine designs, the active Lada Class and the upcoming Amur Class. And that is just the problem, not only are AIP boats so hard to detect, but they are also relatively cheap, and will give friendly and enemy states alike a resurgent clandestine subsurface capability.
With this in mind, I doubt that Sweden's wild goose chase will be the last one of its kind for some time. As this technology spreads we will probably see more and more news about "foreign objects"suspected to be operating closely off friendly shores. AND SWEDES WERE BALMING RUSSIA FOR SENDING A BLACK HOLE SUB