Swedish Navy

Swedish Royal Navy
Coat of arms of the Swedish Navy.
Founded 7 June 1522 (1522-06-07)
Country  Sweden
Part of Swedish Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Karlskrona
March Kungliga Flottans paradmarsch by Wagner
Anniversaries 9 July (Battle of Svensksund)
Engagements Swedish War of Liberation (1510-23)
Count's Feud (1534-36)
Russo-Swedish War (1554–57)
Nordic Seven Years' War (1563-70)
Russo-Swedish War (1590–95)
Polish–Swedish War (1600–29)
Ingrian War (1610–1617)
Kalmar War (1611-13)
Thirty Years' War (1630–1648)
Torstenson War (1643-45)
Second Nordic War (1657-60)
Scanian War (1675-79)
Great Nordic War (1700-1721)
Russo-Swedish War (1741–43)
Seven Years' War (1756-1763)
Russo-Swedish War (1788–90)
First Barbary War (1801–1802)
War of the Fourth Coalition (1805–1810)
Finnish War (1808–1809)
Dano-Swedish War of 1808-1809
Swedish-Norwegian War (1814)
Cold War (1970 - 1991)
War in Afghanistan 2002 - ongoing
Operation Atalanta 2008 – ongoing
Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Jens Nykvist
Naval Ensign and Jack
Naval Ensign 1844–1905
Naval Ensign 1815–1844

The Swedish Royal Navy (Swedish: Svenska marinen) is the naval branch of the Swedish Armed Forces.[1] It is composed of surface and submarine naval units the Royal Fleet (Kungliga Flottan) as well as marine units, the Amphibious Corps (Amfibiekåren).

In Swedish, vessels of the Swedish Navy are given the prefix "HMS," short for Hans/Hennes majestäts skepp (His/Her Majesty's Ship). In English, this is often changed to "HSwMS" ("His Swedish Majesty's Ship") to differentiate Swedish vessels from those of the British Royal Navy.[2]


Early Swedish kings (c. 9th–14th centuries) organised a Swedish Royal Navy along the coastline through ledungen. This involved combined rowing and sailing ships (without artillery). This system became obsolete with the development of society and changes in military technology. No later than in the 14th century, the duty to serve in ledungen was replaced by a tax. In 1427, when Sweden was still part of the Kalmar Union (with Denmark and Norway), Swedish warships did however participate in the naval battle of Öresund (the Sound) against the Hanseatic League. It is unclear how this force was organised and exactly on what basis.

On 7 June 1522, one year after the separation of Sweden from the Kalmar Union, Gustav Vasa purchased a number of ships from the Hanseatic town of Lübeck. Official Swedish histories since the 19th century have often recorded this day as the birth of the current Swedish Navy. The museum ship Vasa in Stockholm was a 17th-century ship of the Royal Swedish Navy (Kungliga flottan).

The Amphibious Corps dates back to 1 January 1902, when a separate "Coastal Artillery" (Kustartilleriet) was established, and Marinen came into use as the name of the service as a whole. The last decade of the 20th century saw the abandonment of the coastal fortifications and the force became a more regular marine corps, renamed Amphibious Corps (Amphibious Corps) in 2000.

For most of the twentieth century the Swedish Navy focused on the threat of a full-scale invasion of Sweden via the Baltic and on protecting commercial shipping. Sweden's location on the Scandinavian peninsula makes it highly dependent of maritime trade: 90% imports and exports enter or leave Sweden through the Baltic. In 1972 the government decreed that non-military measures should be used to protect merchant shipping. The resolution led to the de-commissioning of all the navy's destroyers and frigates, though the non-military measures the government intended to use to protect shipping have never been specified.

The navy first participated in a UN-led peacekeeping mission in October 2006 when the corvette HSwMS Gävle began performing coastal surveillance duties for the United Nations Mission in Lebanon. HSwMS Gävle was relieved by HSwMS Sundsvall, which returned to Sweden in September 2007.

HSwMS Malmö, HSwMS Stockholm, and HSwMS Trossö took part in the EU-led EUNAVFOR operation (2008- ) off the coast of the Horn of Africa. In 2010, HSwMS Carlskrona was the EUNAVFOR flagship, housing the fleet headquarters led by RADM (LH)(Flottiljamiral) Jan Thörnqvist.[3]


Until recently, the Navy was led by the Chief of the Navy (Chefen för marinen, CM), who was typically a Vice Admiral. This office has been eliminated, and the highest officer of the Navy is now the Chief of Navy (Marinchefen), Rear Admiral Jan Thörnqvist, who is the senior representative of the Swedish Navy’s combat forces.

The Marine units use the same system of rank as the Army.

Amphibious units



In the decades following World War II, the Swedish Navy was organised around three light cruiser groups (Tre Kronor, Göta Lejon and Gotland). In the early 1960s, a decision, known as Navy Plan 60 (Swedish: Marinplan 60), was made to scrap the cruisers and move towards a larger fleet of smaller vessels. The last cruiser, Göta Lejon, was sold in 1970 to Chile, where she was renamed Almirante Latorre. The fleet at the time comprised some 24 destroyers and frigates for surface warfare (mainly in the Baltic Sea) and anti-submarine warfare.

The Swedish Navy started to experiment with missiles, based on a recovered German V-2 rocket, as early as 1944. The main armament of the fleet was artillery and torpedoes for surface warfare and anti-submarine rockets for anti-submarine warfare. Helicopters (Alouette, Boeing Vertol) were introduced in the late 1950s and 1960s and this fleet air arm remained an integral part of the fleet and its operations until an independent helicopter arm was created in the 1990s.

The 1972 decision made by the Government to decommission all destroyers and frigates within the next decade limited the Navy's endurance considerably, but the use of smaller short-range ships was at the time deemed adequate for anti-shipping missions along the coast and in the archipelago. In the 1980s, this assessment was proven wrong by repeated failures in anti-submarine warfare operations with inadequate ships and equipment. Today, the largest (surface) combat ships are corvettes which combine surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine clearance functions with a better endurance and seaworthiness than the budget fleet from the 1980s.

Since the 1980s, Swedish surface warships have been named after Swedish cities, while submarines are named after Swedish provinces and minehunters after Swedish lighthouses. The surface ships are mostly small, relying on agility and flexibility. Examples of these are the Stockholm and Göteborg-class corvettes. The Navy is currently taking into service the new, larger, Visby class of stealth corvettes. A new submarine class, Gotland, similar to the older Västergötland, was commissioned in 1998. Its air-independent Stirling engine enables submerged endurance never before seen in conventional submarines. Gotland has been on lease with crew and all to the US Navy and was based in San Diego.

The Amphibious Battalion is built around the Stridsbåt 90H, a small combat boat capable of carrying 21 troops for fast transports and landings in the archipelago. It is also equipped with larger transport boats, but relies on the Army, Navy and Air Force for heavy transports and protection. Cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Navy is under investigation for Amphibious Warfare.

The Swedish Air Force (Swedish: Svenska Flygvapnet) operates in total three types of helicopters: NHIndustries NH90 (HKP14) (18 in service), AgustaWestland AW109 (HKP15) (20 in service) and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk (HKP16) (15 in service). Eight of the AgustaWestland AW109 helicopters have been modified to be operational from the Visby-class corvettes and HSwMS Carlskrona. Nine of the NHIndustries NH90 helicopters are equipped with sonars and radars for anti-submarine warfare.

Upcoming investments

The next generation of submarines, the A26 class, was ordered from Saab Technologies in 2015 and will join the navy starting 2022. The two units will replace the submarines of Södermanland class. In parallel, the Gotland class will undergo a mid-life upgrade.

In 2017 a new intelligence ship to replace HSwMS Orion was ordered from Saab Technologies. The new ship is to be commissioned by 2020 and have a displacement of 2,300 tons.

An additional 18 units of the Swedish version of the CB90-class fast assault craft named Stridsbåt 90HSM, where "M" stands for "modernized", wlll be delivered to the Amphibious Corps during the end of 2018. Like previous versions, the units will be built at Dockstavarvet.

Surface vessels


Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Göteborg class 2 Karlskronavarvet ABTotal of 4 ships completed. 2 in service and 2 in mothball.
Visby class 5Karlskronavarvet AB


Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Koster class 5 Karlskronavarvet AB Total of 7 ships completed. 5 in service and 2 decommissioned.
Styrsö class 4 Karlskronavarvet AB 2 ships converted to diving support vessels and 2 ships to command and support vessels

Patrol boats

Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Stockholm class 2Karlskronavarvet ABDowngraded from corvettes[4]
Tapper class 11Djupviks varv Total of 12 ships completed. 11 in service and 1 decommissioned.

Combat boats

Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Stridsbåt 90 147Dockstavarvet, Gotlandsvarvet18 additional units on order
Stridsbåt 90E 5Storebro Bruks AB


Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Gotland class 3Kockums AB
Södermanland class 2Kockums AB Will be replaced in 2022 by two new units of A26-class

Ocean patrol vessels

Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
HSwMS Carlskrona 1Karlskronavarvet, Karlskrona Former mine layer M04

Signal intelligence vessels

Class Photo Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
HSwMS Orion 1Karlskronavarvet, Karlskrona Will be replaced in 2020

Auxiliary vessels

  • Landing craft
  • Auxiliary vessels
  • Tugs
    • HSwMS Hector (A254) Damen ASD3010 Coastal Tug
    • HSwMS Hercules (A255) Damen ASD3010 Coastal Tug
  • Torpedo salvage vessels
    • HSwMS Pelikanen (A247)
  • Transport ships
    • HSwMS Loke (A344)
    • HSwMS Nåttarö (A608)
    • 600-class Fast Supply Vessels (16 vessels in service)
  • Hovercrafts

School ships

  • Schooners
    • HSwMS Falken (S02)
    • HSwMS Gladan (S01)
  • Ships for navigation education
    • HSwMS Altair (A501)
    • HSwMS Antares (A502)
    • HSwMS Arcturus (A503)
    • HSwMS Argo (A504)
    • HSwMS Astrea (A505)


Chiefs of the Navy

Chiefs of Navy Staff

Inspectors General of the Navy

Inspectors of the Navy

Chiefs of Navy

See also


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