• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers

Oliver Gee · 15 Apr 2014, 16:35

Published: 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.
Story continues below…
 
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
Ibrahimovic makes United debut in front of Swedes
Ibrahimovic endured a terrible Euro 2016. Photo: TT

”Everybody has been waiting for this,” says Mr Modesty.

Sweden to investigate citizens' sex lives
It has been 20 years since the last in-depth study of the sex habits of Swedes. Photo: Tammy McGary/Flickr

The Swedish government is to launch a major study of the sex lives of its citizens after reports that lovemaking is on the wane.

Russian 'terror suspect' held at Swedish airport walks free
File photo of Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

UPDATED: A 35-year-old man has been released from police custody after being arrested at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm on Friday morning.

Northern Dispatches
'Moving to northern Sweden was the best thing we've done'
Photo: FB

In his farewell column, The Local’s northern Sweden correspondent, Paul Connolly, looks back at his first four years in Sweden.

Bear family just hanging out on Swedish golf course
Not the bear cub in question. But isn't he cute? Photo: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

A bear family has been roaming a Swedish golf course, and the best thing of all is that no one cares.

The Local investigates
What do we actually know about the violence in Malmö?
Police investigating an explosion in Malmö on Thursday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

International media have presented a "distorted" view of a spate of Malmö shootings and an explosion, a senior police boss has told The Local.

The Local List
Reasons why Stockholm Pride is simply awesome
Photo: Annika af Klercker/TT.

Stockholm's Pride festival culminates on Saturday with a parade – and more than a few parties. Here's why we think it's pretty amazing.

Cashless Swedes sitting on old bills worth billions

Old Swedish bank notes worth 1.4 billion kronor are still circulating, according to the country’s central bank, despite them having been declared invalid a month ago.

Homes
In pictures: Why is Nordic design so hot right now?
Scandinavian design. Photo: House of Beatniks

Design agency Studio Esinam investigates together with Houzz.se why the world is falling in love with Nordic style.

Stockholm one of world's best places to live: magazine
Living the dream. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Stockholm is the tenth best city in the world to live in, reckons this British magazine.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Swedish cop makes arrest of the year
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Anyone for a bite of 340-year-old shipwrecked stinky cheese?
Gallery
People-watching: July 27th
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,391
jobs available