• Sweden edition
 
'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers
The Kockums Malmö shipyard and FMV headquarters. Files: TT

'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers

Published: 15 Apr 2014 16:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Apr 2014 16:35 GMT+02:00

 
Tensions between Sweden and the German company Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) took a surprising turn last Tuesday when the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration carried out a raid on the Malmö shipyard belonging to Kockums, Thyssen Krupp's Swedish subsidiary. 
 
The decisive move has left military experts baffled, with one claiming he has never seen anything like it. 
 
"This is very strange, very unusual," Gunnar Hult, a professor at Sweden's National Defence College, told The Local on Tuesday. 
 
The operation spoke volumes about the "magnitude of the conflict" between the Swedish state and the shipyard owners, he said, adding he was amazed the implications were never properly examined in the Swedish press.
 
Indeed, details of the reported raid by the defence administration (Försvarets materielverk - FMV) are few and far between. 
 
"In front of several witnesses and with the protection of the military, FMV security came to Malmö and let themselves into the lab to take sensitive technological equipment," reported Sveriges Television (SVT) on Friday.
 
An FMV spokesperson described the incident as "a routine transportation of defence material"
 
"Because of the fact that it was a transfer of defence material, belonging to FMV, all information regarding the transfer is classified as secret," the spokesperson said.
 
Hult, who specializes in military technology at the defence college, assumed that the military was looking for drawings or design details, potentially about the Stirling engine.
 
He explained that some parts of Kockums' design belong to the Swedish military. Those designs were then rented to contractors, but with the ownership structure up in the air the military might have felt compelled to confiscate certain items. 
 
"The kind of things they install into the web platforms. Encrypted," he explained. "This is pretty classified stuff."
 
FMV confirmed that the A26 submarine model is owned in full by the Swedish state.
 
Hult added that the actions of the FMV, which is tasked with delivering defence logistics to Sweden's Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten), were legally murky.
 
"I suppose if they say it refers to state interests then they'll be able to get away with it," he said.
 
"And with a neighbour to the east that we've never really trusted, we've developed our own submarines rather than buying them," he explained. 
 
That changed when the Soviet Union imploded.
 
"There was less interest in the sea and in submarines. They allowed the Germans to buy a Swedish company," he said.
 
Current affairs, however, may have changed the game, as Swedish distrust of Moscow risks flaring up again.
 
"With what's happening in Ukraine, there is a renewed interest in submarines," Hult said.
 
That could have set the stage for the raid, and what was to come next - Swedish military technology makers Saab announcing a memorandum of understanding with Thyssen Krupp to take over the Kockums shipyards that the Germans have owned for 15 years.
 
Saab fits neatly into the picture because the Swedish government has long underscored the importance of having domestic shipbuilding programmes.
 
An FMV spokesperson said the agency took "a positive view" of news that Saab had signed an MOU, with the viability study set to be completed in June. Kockums employs around 900 staff in Sweden, and as part of the agreement, the Swedes have agreed to stop poaching staff from the Germans, a Saab spokesman said.
 
Hult explained that Saab was the only choice to take over.
 
"There is no one else. Saab has naval experience. They haven't made submarines but they have made sonar systems and torpedoes... a lot of things that are part of submarines. They were the only choice to take over."
 
Hult added that he was "surprised" the Germans were willing to negotiate with Saab, as a sale would turn Saab into a significant competitor to Thyssen Krupp's Kiel-based submarine production. 
 
"And I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot of phone calls between the Swedish and German governments about this," Hult told The Local. "Especially as it's such an important strategic affair."

 

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Opinion
'Why were we kept in the dark for years?'
The submarine hunt is now in it's sixth day. Photo: TT

'Why were we kept in the dark for years?'

Military expert Johanne Hildebrandt tells The Local that the biggest question in the Stockholm submarine hunt hasn't been answered yet - why don't we know more about the "other operations" from the last few years? READ  

The Local List
Eight things to love about renting in Sweden
Apartments in Sweden are compact. Photo: Shutterstock

Eight things to love about renting in Sweden

A housing crisis means that short-term sublets are the norm in major cities and rent regulation rules are frequently flouted. But this week, The Local's decided to look on the bright side of renting an apartment in Sweden. READ  

Business & Money
Nordea banks big third-quarter profit gain
Nordea's Chief Executive Christian Clausen. Photo: TT

Nordea banks big third-quarter profit gain

Swedish bank Nordea announced on Wednesday a sharp rise in third quarter profits despite the economic slowdown and major outlays for an IT overhaul. READ  

National
Knutby priest faces early release from prison
Knutby in eastern Sweden, the scene of the murder. Photo: TT

Knutby priest faces early release from prison

A former priest in eastern Sweden who was sentenced to life in prison for organizing the murder of his wife has had his sentence reduced. READ  

Opinion
'Sweden will see Russia as a threat again'

'Sweden will see Russia as a threat again'

The Local speaks to one of Europe's leading security experts about why social media meant the Swedish military couldn't keep their 'submarine' search a secret and how she believes the country will ramp up its security against Russia. READ  

Interview
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
Comedian Al Pitcher has launched his new tour. Photo: www.alpitcher.com

'Swedes are funnier than they think'

New Zealand-born Al Pitcher launched his new comedy show in Stockholm this week. There wasn't a dull moment as The Local phoned up the man who has become one of Sweden's hottest comedians, while he took an eventful stroll in the capital. READ  

National
Stockholm suicide bomb investigation closes
The suicide bombing took place in 2010. Photo: TT

Stockholm suicide bomb investigation closes

Sweden's Security Service (Säpo) has announced that it will stop its core investigation into a suicide bombing in Stockholm four years ago. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Military heads into 'new phase' in sub search
The search for the missing 'submarine' is now in its sixth day. Photo: TT

Military heads into 'new phase' in sub search

A press conference on the search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters revealed that the Armed Forces would be heading into a "new phase" on Wednesday, although it remained unclear what that might involve. READ  

Lifestyle
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
The bronze replica cannon. Photo: Beth Dacey.

Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden

A replica of one of the cannons present on Stockholm's iconic Vasa warship when it sank in 1628 is being tested for the first time in central Sweden. READ  

Health
Swedish farmers contracted swine flu
Swine flu can spread between pigs and humans. Photo: TT

Swedish farmers contracted swine flu

A human strain of the swine flu virus normally only found in pigs was discovered in Sweden earlier this year, the country's Public Health Agency has revealed. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
Blog updates

21 October

Denna & den här (The Swedish Teacher) »

"?Denna? or ?den hr?? Swedish language students often ask question about different pronouns. One pronoun that especially..." READ »

 

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
National
What's on in Sweden
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

999
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN