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Say 'Bye, Bye' in Swedish!
Norman Polmar | May 25, 2007
The Swedish Navy submarine Gotland, which has worked with U.S. naval forces off San Diego since June 2005, will soon be returning to Sweden. The U.S. Navy had “leased” the submarine -- the Swedes note that only actual expenses have been charged -- to help train U.S. anti-submarine forces to cope with modern, non-nuclear submarines.

The Gotland is a modern submarine, completed in 1996, with Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) in which two Stirling 75-kilowatt external combustion engines propel the craft and/or charge her batteries without the need to operate (noisy) diesel engines. Submarines with various forms of AIP are being acquired by several countries.

Late in June the Gotland will be loaded aboard a heavy-lift ship and returned to Sweden. While she was operating from San Diego the Gotland was manned by crews that rotated on a regular basis by air from Sweden. Her crew included female officers and sailors. The submarine provided more than 250 underway days during the two years.

While details of the Gotland’s performance against U.S. fleet units is classified, earlier Lieutenant Commander Jan Westas, captain of the Gotland’s Blue Crew, said that U.S. ASW forces “have had a very difficult time finding us.”

Unofficial reports cite a total failure of U.S. carrier battle groups to locate the submarine until the Gotlandsignaled her position.

Negotiations are now underway with Chile to provide a diesel-electric submarine to operate from San Diego for 90- to 120-day periods. On the Atlantic coast, Colombia and Peru have been sending submarines north for sustained ASW training, normally operating out of Mayport, Florida, for periods up to 180 days.  Currently negotiations are underway to assign a Brazilian submarine to the Atlantic Fleet for sustained periods for ASW training.

However, these submarines are not AIP craft, hence they must use their diesel engines (snorkel) on a regular basis, making them vulnerable to detection by U.S. ASW forces.  Most experts agree that the current U.S. anti-submarine forces cannot cope with advanced AIP-type submarines.

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Copyright 2013 Norman Polmar. All opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Military.com.

About Norman Polmar

NORMAN POLMAR has been a consultant to several senior officials in the Navy and Department of Defense, and has directed several studies for U.S. and foreign shipbuilding and aerospace firms. Mr. Polmar has been a consultant to the Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Mr. Polmar also served as a consultant to three U.S. Senators and to two members of the House of Representatives, as a consultant or advisor to three Secretaries of the Navy and two Chiefs of Naval Operations, and as a consultant to the Deputy Counselor to President Reagan.
Mr. Polmar has written or coauthored more than 40 books and numerous articles on naval, intelligence, and aviation subjects.  His comparative analysis of U.S. and Soviet submarine design and construction, COLD WAR SUBMARINES, written in collaboration with Mr. Kenneth J. Moore and the Russian submarine design bureaus RUBIN and MALACHITE, was published in late 2003.

For the past three decades he has been author of the reference books Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet and Guide to the Soviet Navy.  

Mr. Polmar’s articles and comments appear frequently in various newspapers and periodicals and he is a columnist for the Proceedings and Naval History magazines, both published by the U.S. Naval Institute.

From 1967 to 1977 Mr. Polmar was editor of the United States and several other sections of the annual Jane's Fighting Ships.

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