Saab unveils superstealth ‘ghost submarine’ that is virtually invisible to enemies and even allows divers to silently enter and exit to defend against Russia

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  • Special pod allows divers to enter and exit sub while underwater
  • Built to include rubber damping and acoustic baffling to reduce noise
  • Hull shape and fins designed to make it appear almost invisible 
  • Can also ‘play dead’ at the bottom of the sea to remain undetected

Saab has unveiled what it claims is the world’s most advanced stealth submarine. The A26 sub is 207 feet long, and features a ‘ghost mode’ to make it virtually undetectable when underwater. It also features a unique pod that allows special forces divers to enter and exit the sub while it is underwater. The firm has already signed a $1 billion deal to build two of the new submarines for the Swedish Navy. ‘Extreme stealth is at the heart of the Kockums A26 submarine,’ the firm said. ‘Sweden is unleashing its GHOST (Genuine HOlistic STealth) technology, thus making the Kockums A26 submarine effectively invisible.’ The order, with a value of about $1.04 billion, is for construction of two Type A26 submarines and conducting mid-life upgrades to two Gotland-class submarines. Work on the two A26s is to be completed by 2024. Type A26 submarines are nearly 207 feet in length, 21 feet in the beam and have an endurance of 45 days or 18 days underwater. They have a test depth of about 658 feet. They will be conventional diesel-electric submarines equipped with the Kockums Stirling AIP (air-independent propulsion) system for enhanced stealth. ‘Sweden has long experience in designing very silent submarines,’ the firm says.

Hull shape and fins designed to make it appear almost invisible


‘In the Kockums 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. ‘Intelligence gathering, surveillance and sea denial along coastlines are becoming increasingly important, ‘ Saab said. ‘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.’

The two vessels will be delivered to Sweden’s Defense Materiel Organization in late 2018 and late 2019, respectively. ‘Saab will deliver world-class submarines to Sweden,’ said Hakan Buskhe, president and chief executive officer of Saab. ‘Our ability to work closely with customers, to meet their needs with modern manufacturing and products, is one of Saab’s greatest skills. ‘Saab is also exploring export opportunities to provide complete submarine systems to a select number of countries, plus sub-systems across the wider market.’

Added Gunilla Fransson, head of Saab’s Security and Defense Solutions business area: ‘The A26 will be a unique and high-tech submarine with proven modular design, which gives the platform a high level of availability at a low life-cycle cost. ‘The submarine will have long-endurance submerged performance and excellent maneuverability in all waters. ‘Safety is paramount and A26 will be highly survivable thanks to modern underwater stealth technology and a unique heritage of shock resistant design.’

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