Swedish Navy

The Swedish Navy (Swedish: Svenska marinen) is the naval branch of the Swedish Armed Forces.[2] It is composed of surface and submarine naval units – the Fleet (Flottan) – as well as marine units, the Amphibious Corps (Amfibiekåren).

Swedish Navy
Svenska marinen
Marinen vapen bra.svg
Coat of arms of the Swedish Navy.
Founded7 June 1522; 500 years ago (1522-06-07)
Country Sweden
Part ofSwedish Armed Forces
March"Kungliga Flottans paradmarsch" (Wagner)
Anniversaries9 July (Battle of Svensksund)
Equipment7 corvettes
9 mine countermeasure vessel
5 diesel submarines
14 patrol vessels
147 Gunboats
other auxiliary vessels
Chief of NavyEwa Skoog Haslum
Deputy Chief of NavyPeder Ohlsson
Chief of the Naval StaffFredrik Palmquist
Naval ensign and jack
Naval Ensign of Sweden.svg
Naval ensign 1844–1905
Naval Ensign of Sweden (1844-1905).svg
Naval ensign 1815–1844
Swedish and Norwegian naval ensign (1815-1844).svg

Founded under King Gustav I in 1522, the Swedish navy is one of the oldest continuously serving navies in the world, celebrating its 500th anniversary in 2022.


Early Swedish kings (c. 9th–14th centuries) organised a Swedish Navy along the coastline through ledungen. This involved combined rowing and sailing ships (without artillery). This system became obsolete with the development of society and changes in military technology. 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 against the Hanseatic League. It is unclear how this force was organised and exactly on what basis.

On 7 June 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. Official Swedish histories since the 19th century have often recorded this day as the birth of the current Swedish Navy. The museum ship Vasa in Stockholm was a 17th-century ship of the Royal Swedish Navy (Kungliga flottan).

The Amphibious Corps dates back to 1 January 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[citation needed] marine corps, renamed Amphibious Corps (Amfibiekåren) 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 Sea and on 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 navy first participated in a UN-led peacekeeping mission in October 2006 when the corvette HSwMS Gävle[note 1] 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, HSwMS Stockholm, and HSwMS Trossö took part in the EU-led EUNAVFOR operation (2008– ) off the coast of the Horn of Africa. In 2010, HSwMS Carlskrona was the EUNAVFOR flagship, housing the fleet headquarters led by RAdm (LH) Jan Thörnqvist.[3]


Until recently, the Navy was led by the Chief of the Navy, who was typically a vice admiral. This office has been eliminated, and the highest officer of the Navy is now the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Ewa Skoog Haslum, who is the senior representative of the Swedish Navy's combat forces.

The Marine units use the same system of rank as the Army.

Naval unitsEdit

Amphibious unitsEdit


Training unitsEdit


The Swedish destroyer HSwMS Östergötland, decommissioned in 1982.

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, known as Navy Plan 60 (Swedish: Marinplan 60), was made to scrap the cruisers and move towards a larger fleet of smaller vessels. 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 rocket, 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 II and Vertol 44) 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 the 1990s.

The 1972 decision made by the Government to decommission all destroyers and frigates within the next decade limited the Navy's endurance considerably, but the use of smaller short-range ships was at the time deemed adequate for anti-shipping missions along the coast and in the archipelago. In the 1980s, this assessment was proven wrong by repeated failures 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, was commissioned in 1998. 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 Amphibious 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. Cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Navy is under investigation for Amphibious Warfare.

The Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) operate three types of helicopters: NHIndustries NH90 (HKP14) (18 in service), AgustaWestland AW109 (HKP15) (20 in service) and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk (HKP16) (15 in service). Eight of the AgustaWestland AW109 helicopters have been modified to be operational from the Visby-class corvettes and HSwMS Carlskrona. Nine of the NHIndustries NH90 helicopters are equipped with sonars and radars for anti-submarine warfare.

Upcoming investmentsEdit

The next generation of submarines, the A26 class, was ordered from Saab Technologies in 2015 and will join the navy starting 2022. The two units will replace the submarines of Södermanland class. In parallel, the Gotland class will undergo a mid-life upgrade.

In 2017 a new intelligence ship to replace HSwMS Orion was ordered from Saab Technologies. The new ship is to be commissioned by 2020 and have a displacement of 2,300 tons.

An additional 18 units of the Swedish version of the CB90-class fast assault craft named Stridsbåt 90HSM, where "M" stands for "modernized", will be delivered to the Amphibious Corps during the end of 2018. Like previous versions, the units will be built at Dockstavarvet.


Class Photo Number
of boats
Builder Origin Notes
Gotland class   3 Kockums AB  
Södermanland class   2 Kockums AB   Will be replaced in 2027 by two new units of Blekinge class[4]

Surface vesselsEdit


Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Göteborg class   2 Karlskronavarvet AB   Total of 4 ships completed. 2 in service and 2 decommissioned. To be replaced by 2 new corvettes.[5]
Visby class   5 Karlskronavarvet AB  


Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Koster class   5 Karlskronavarvet AB   Total of 7 ships completed. 5 in service and 2 decommissioned.
Styrsö class   4 Karlskronavarvet AB   2 ships converted to diving support vessels and 1 ship to command and support vessel

Patrol boatsEdit

Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Stockholm class   2 Karlskronavarvet AB   Downgraded from corvettes[6]
Tapper class   11 Djupviks varv   Total of 12 ships completed. 11 in service and 1 decommissioned.

Combat boatsEdit

Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Stridsbåt 90   147 Dockstavarvet, Gotlandsvarvet   18 additional units on order[7]

Ocean patrol vesselsEdit

Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
HSwMS Carlskrona   1 Karlskronavarvet, Karlskrona   Former mine layer M04

Signal intelligence vesselsEdit

Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
HSwMS Orion   1 Karlskronavarvet, Karlskrona   Will be replaced in 2022[8]

Auxiliary vessels, majorEdit

Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
HSwMS Trossö   1 OY Laivateollisuus   Command and support ship
HSwMS Furusund   1 Åsiverken   Sub water research vessel
HSwMS Belos   1 Shipyard De Hoop   Submarine salvage ship. Carries the submarine rescue system URF.

Auxiliary vessels, othersEdit

Training shipsEdit



Commissioned officer ranks

The rank insignia of commissioned officers.

Rank group General/flag officers Senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
  Swedish Navy[9]
Amiral Viceamiral Konteramiral Flottiljamiral Kommendör Kommendörkapten Örlogskapten Kapten Löjtnant Fänrik Kadett
Other ranks

The rank insignia of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel.

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
  Swedish Navy[9]
Menig 2 Menig 1 Menig
Flottiljförvaltare Förvaltare Fanjunkare Översergeant Sergeant Överfurir Furir Korpral Vicekorpral Menig 4 Menig 3

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 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 sometimes changed to "HSwMS" ("His Swedish Majesty's Ship") to differentiate Swedish vessels from those of the British Royal Navy. Allied Command Operations. "A Day Aboard HSwMS Kullen". NATO. Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.


  1. ^ IISS (2022). The Military Balance 2022. Routledge. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-032-27900-8.
  2. ^ "The Navy". Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  3. ^ "90 000 ton humanitär hjälp säkrades under svensk ledning" [90,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid was secured under Swedish leadership]. Swedish Armed Forces (in Swedish). 16 August 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Ubåt A26". Swedish Defence Material Administration.
  5. ^ "Saab får två kontrakt för nästa generations korvetter för svenska marinen" [Saab receives two contracts for the next generation of corvettes for the Swedish Navy]. Saab AB (in Swedish). 25 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Patrullfartyg Stockholm" [Patrol Vessel Stockholm]. Swedish Armed Forces (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 11 July 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Stororder till Dockstavarvet Nya Stridsbåtar till Marinen" [Large order for Dockstavarvet New Battleships for the Navy]. Dockstavarvet (in Swedish). 7 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Saab Signs Contract for Delivery of Special Purpose Ship for SIGINT". Saab AB. 11 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Nya gradbeteckningar införs". Försvarsmakten. 1 October 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.

External linksEdit