Sweden is to increase defence spending by SEK6 billion ($696 million) between 2016 and 2020. Much of it is to be spent on improving the navy’s anti-submarine warfare capability after the unsuccessful hunt for what is thought to have been as many as four underwater intruders in the Stockholm Archipelago last autumn.

The funds pledged are about half the amount requested to help combat Russia’s increasing military menace in the region. The corvettes Gävle and Sundsvall are to be modernised with improved sensors and towed array sonar systems. Ironically, they are the only two of a planned class of six ASW vessels which were purpose-built to combat Soviet territorial incursions as the Cold War ended.

The Swedish government has also signalled the go-ahead for the navy to buy two new submarines from Saab Kockums. The so-called A26 subs are to be delivered by 2022 and will cost up to SEK8.2 billion ($945 million).

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