Babcock and Saab begin design of Sweden’s Luleå-class warships

Babcock International will collaborate in designing Sweden’s future surface combatants alongside Saab, the prime contractor.

Representatives from the two companies; the Swedish Navy; Sweden’s defence procurment agency, the FMV and the UK Royal Navy signed an agreement to that effect during a visit to the British naval prime’s Rosyth shipyard in Scotland this week.

This follows a Strategic Cooperation Agreement signed by the two companies at the London-based Defence Security and Equipment International conference in September 2023, where they agreed to jointly explore designs for a new 100-foot-long advanced corvette.

This collaboration marks the start of the process of producing the Swedish Navy’s four future Luleå-class corvettes.

Specifically, Babcock will initially provide engineering support, including structural design and auxiliary systems, supporting Saab to complete the basic design phase.

Originally, the Swedish Government intended to build a second generation of its five existing Visby-class corvettes, which were initially procured between 2002-2013 according to GlobalData intelligence. However, their plans changed in response to outset fo the Russo-Ukrainian war, which drastically changed the Nordic nation’s geopolitical strategy.

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It has been said that this new class will be the largest surface combatants in the Swedish Navy fleet.

Representatives from Swedish and British naval and industry organisations meet to bring Babcock into the design phase of the programme at the company’s Rosyth shipyard in Scotland. Credit: Babcock.

Babcock sets standards for the world’s naval programmes

The British company has set itself up as a trend-setter around the world as it helps to support the development of a number of naval programmes.

Most notably, Babcock leads the Arrowhead-140 (AH140) general-purpose, light frigate design that launched in May 2018.

The Royal Navt is procuring five Type 31 Inspiration-class frigates to replace the its Type 23 frigate fleet, which has been in service since the early 1990s. Led by Babcock, Team 31 comprises Thales, Harland & Wolff, BMT, OMT and Ferguson Marine.

The design has begun to set the standard for some countries, including Poland and Indonesia.

Poland is currently constructing three Miecznik, or ‘Swordfish’ in English, frigates. After its transfer of knowledge and technology framework agreement with Poland’s PGZ-Miecznik consortium, signed in 2022, Babcock provided a lot of support in the construction of Poland’s frigates with an integrated combat system.

In Indonesia, recently participated in the keel laying ceremony for the first of Indonesia’s two AH140 frigates in August last year.

Moreover, South Korea has also consulted Babcock and contracted the supplier to fit its proprietary weapons handling launch system onto the Republic of Korea Navy’s Jangbogo III-class diesel-electric attack submarines.

Key elements of the system will be designed and produced in the UK with the remainder built under licence in South Korea.

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