Writing in the Sunday edition of Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet, the minister conceded that the Baltic Sea area remained stable, with only Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg breaking the circle of EU and NATO-affiliated countries.
“However, one can never rule out long-term risks and incidents, which could also be of a military nature,” Tolgfors wrote.
The multi-billion kronor investment is to be included in next week’s spring budget proposal, he added.
Ship builder Kockums said in February that it had signed a contract with FMV (the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration) regarding the construction of next-generation submarines.
“This is an important first step, not only for Kockums, but for the Swedish Armed Forces as a whole,” said Kockums CEO Alfredsson in a statement released at the time.
“We shall now be able to maintain our position at the cutting edge of submarine technology, which is vital in the light of current threat scenarios. HMS Gotland demonstrated what she is capable of during two years of joint exercises in the water off the USA. This next-generation submarine marks a further refinement of technology”, he said.
Until now however the Swedish government had not given any indication of the scope of its plans. Along with the two new vessels, two Gotland class attack submarines will also receive major upgrades as part of the investment.
Tolgfors said the move would ensure that Sweden’s submarine fleet maintained its “top international calibre”. The minster also shared Kockums’ view that the next-generation Swedish submarine would attract a great deal of interest abroad and would likely lead to export deals in the future.