Sunday, October 26, 2014

Swedish Submarine Search

You’re probably all aware that Sweden has been conducting a search for a foreign (presumably Russian) submarine in their waters for the last week or so.  That search has now been terminated, apparently. News website published an Associated Press article with some interesting comments about the Swedish operation (1).

"'It's been a while since we conducted this type of operation.... We are a bit rusty,' Rear Adm. Anders Grenstad, chief of operations, told The Associated Press.

One of the major threats to Sweden is submarine activity and it’s been awhile since they’ve conducted this type of operation??  A bit rusty??  You do get that war is a come as you are affair?  The US Navy needs to take a lesson from this and start treating ASW seriously both in procurement and, more importantly, training.

"'The odds of us locating and taking action against a foreign underwater vessel is, due to the reduction of our capabilities and the complex environment in the littorals of the Baltic Sea, relatively small,' said retired navy Commander Christian Allerman, a task group chief in Sweden's anti-submarine warfare force in the 1990s.

This statement reinforces the conclusion that we’ve stated here on multiple occasions – that ASW is a very difficult mission and one that must be practiced tirelessly in order to be proficient.  The USN practice of running a ship through a scripted exercise once a year as a check box on a pre-deployment workup is not the way to acquire proficiency.

"Sweden phased out its anti-submarine helicopters in 2008 and isn't expecting replacements until 2018.”

Outstanding!  Way to prepare.  Thank goodness the US Navy would never do something that foolish.  Oh wait …  We sank an entire class of Spruance ASW destroyers!

“Apart from cutting defense spending, Sweden has shifted its focus from territorial defense to international peacekeeping operations ..."

Does that sound somewhat familiar?  The US has shifted its focus from high end combat to “presence”, crisis response, and humanitarian assistance.  Well, guess what?  Countries like Russia and China are shifting their focus to exactly the high end combat that we’re abandoning.  What’s the likely outcome when those two trends ultimately collide?

By the way, the much vaunted Visby was involved in the ASW search and produced nothing.  To be fair, there may have been nothing to find.  On the other hand, it should be clear that there is nothing magic about that ship, either. 

(1) News, "Submarine Hunt Exposes Swedish Readiness Gap", 22-Oct-2014


  1. The Visby is a very nice ship, but its hardly an asw specialist, certainly not a littoral one.

    A towed array doesn't really work in the coast and bow mounted are useless unless the sub is deeply stupid.
    The only way they were ever going to find anything was asw helicopters.

    Now the speculation starts.
    Has someone been pulled out of Sweden?
    Inserted? Captured?
    Has something been planted? On land? In the sea?

    Or was it all just a ruse to get Sweden to go balls out looking for something that wasn't there, so Russia can see exactly how Sweden will respond to an incursion in future.

  2. No proof this was russian sub or even anything related to russia.. whats with all the western media's continuous demonization of russia..

    and then the swede suddenly call of the search.. maybe they found the submarine and it embarasingly not russian sub but belong to 'friendly' western (read NATO) country ? so after all the useless dog and pony show by swedish navy, its now hushed as if nothing happened ?

    some people said this is a 'budget submarine' , the kind that appears before budgetary meeting..

    1. "b", what's with the demonization of Russia??! You mean besides their invasion of Ukraine? You mean besides their unsafe harassment of American ships and aircraft? You mean besides their pattern of probing of territorial boundaries of various countries?

      You'll note the reports of intercepted communications signals from the suspect sub to Russian facilities. You'll also note that Sweden has pointedly refrained from calling the unknown sub a Russian ship.

      Sweden had credible reports, including photos, of a possible foreign sub in their territorial waters and they conducted a search. Quite appropriate. Having found nothing (at least that they're willing to share publicly) after a period of time, they've called off the search. Again, quite appropriate.

      I do, however, get a good chuckle over the "budget submarine". I like that one! :-)


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