• 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
International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Politics
Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Palestinians in Gaza last month. Photo: Adel Hana

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially decided to recognize Palestine, with the move announced in a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

Interview
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
For ten days, Globen is transformed into a giant pumpkin. Photo: Shockholm

Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween

American Bill Schacht missed the spooky outfits, family feasts and charity events he associated with Halloween when he moved to Sweden. So he did something about it. The Local meets the founder of the capital's annual Shockholm parade. READ  

Business & Money
Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall
A Vattenfall plant in Germany. Photo: TT

Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall

Swedish energy company Vattenfall has reported losses for the third quarter in a row. READ  

International
Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza
Malala receives the Children's Prize from Queen Silvia. Photo: TT

Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza

UPDATED: Girls' rights champion Malala Yousafzai, who was in Sweden to accept the World's Children's Prize on Wednesday, said she would use all her winnings to help rebuild schools in war-ravaged Gaza. READ  

Swedish Honeymoon Killing
Cape Town 'fixer' phoned Dewani before killing
Dewani in a Cape Town court. Photo: TT

Cape Town 'fixer' phoned Dewani before killing

A man jailed for killing British businessman Shrien Dewani's wife during their Cape Town honeymoon said on Wednesday they spoke shortly before the murder to discuss payment. READ  

National
Bus drivers hit by racist and sexist messages
An SL bus in the Swedish capital. Photo: TT

Bus drivers hit by racist and sexist messages

Police are investigating after several bus drivers were forced to read "highly inappropriate" messages sent through the Stockholm bus network's internal communications network. READ  

The Local List
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Photo: TT

Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Swedish football hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes the headlines almost as much for his offhand comments as for his footballing prowess. Here are our ten favourite Zlatan quotes. READ  

National
Oil spill ship in Stockholm 'could sink'
The ship is carrying 52 tonnes of oil. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Oil spill ship in Stockholm 'could sink'

UPDATED: There are fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil that crashed in Stockholm's archipelago on Wednesday morning could sink. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
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
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
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
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
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

994
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