Saab’s A26 is the world’s most modern submarine program for the Swedish Navy. The A26 is a unique submarine with proven modular design, silent long-endurance submerged performance and excellent manoeuvrability in all waters. The A26 will be powered by conventional diesel-electric propulsion machinery, and equipped with fully integrated Kockums Stirling AIP systems (air-independent propulsion). The submarine will have optimised and balanced underwater signature properties, which will make A26 submarine extremely stealthy and very difficult to detect.
Saab’s A26 uses the latest stealth technology and advanced tactical communication to allow submarines to integrate their communications with those of other defence forces and civilian agencies. Operational flexibility, together with a comprehensive weapons suite, enables it to carry out a wide variety of missions. Saab combines technological innovation with strategic planning to give our clients the operational capabilities they need to deliver the results they desire. The A26 is an effective addition to any modern naval force that can effectively carry out national defence tasks, intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance, offensive operations, anti-submarine warfare, mine-laying and special operations.
The powerful A26 submarine is designed for the following missions:
Maritime security operations, including detecting and responding appropriately against illegal activities
Intelligence operations, covert in hostile areas, including acoustic, visual, electronic and communication intelligence, which may entail deployment of unmanned maritime vehicles
Covert mine countermeasure operations, including mine searching and clearance using unmanned underwater vehicles
Special operations by carrying, deploying and retrieving special forces along with equipment and underwater vehicles
Anti-submarine warfare by searching, locating and classifying approaching and attacking submarines, and by countering other submarines
Anti-surface warfare where both internal sensor data and/or external target information is used
Mine-laying in covert mode
Underwater work such as manipulating, deploying, retrieving or destroying underwater objects and installations
Intelligence gathering, surveillance and sea denial along coastlines are becoming increasingly important. Operations in shallow water enable submarines to carry out covert monitoring of targets on land or sea using a range of electro-optical and electromagnetic sensors. Moreover, the ability of a submarine to lie motionless on the ocean floor, or ‘bottom out’, makes it almost impossible to find.
Submarine operations in the extreme littorals are also facilitated by the difficulty of carrying out anti-submarine warfare (ASW) in shallow water. A confusing combination of big thermal variations in water layers, unpredictable tides and currents, high reverberation and highly directional ambient noise defeats ASW measures. This is why the next-generation A26 submarine, with superior GHOST® (Genuine HOlistic STealth) properties and AIP, is a valuable asset in securing total control in the extreme littoral zones, or as we call it, Littoral Supremacy™.
Sweden is unleashing its GHOST® (Genuine HOlistic STealth) technology, thus making the A26 submarine effectively undetectable as all its signatures are even lower than those of the Kockums Gotland Class submarine. Extreme stealth is at the heart of the A26 submarine, and it depends on good design right from the very beginning. The holistic nature of optimised GHOST® covers all types of signatures to make it almost impossible to spot during silent service. Sweden has long experience in designing very silent submarines. In the A26 submarine, an extremely resilient platform technique incorporating extensive rubber mountings and baffles is used to minimise noise from operating machines and transient noise, as well as absorbing shocks. To further reduce emitted noise, the space between the frames is equipped with acoustic damping plates. This approach is used in combination with, for example, encapsulated Stirling and diesel engine modules; flexible hoses and compensators; and specifying maximum flow speed in air ducts, minimum bending radius on cables and pipes, and the design of out-board holes and cavities.
To become invisible, further ways of keeping silent are exploited by the A26 submarine:
The target strength of the A26 submarine is minimal because of the vessel’s unique hull shape, the unique fin design, sonar and equipment accommodation, and a new type of surface acoustic absorption or reflection coatings. This highly optimised design also cuts the hydrodynamic signatures and flow noise around the submarine, both in deep water and near the surface.
The magnetic signature is suppressed by an advanced degaussing system that is controlled by external sensors to facilitate compensation in all geographical locations and headings. Galvanic signatures, primarily electrical but including secondary magnetic signatures are reduced by a specially designed cathodic protection system and careful material selection that minimise electrical signatures without compromising the corrosion protection of the submarine.