Saab, the aerospace and defence company, marked Tuesday 15 August with a composite cutting ceremony at its Karlskrona facility.

The event celebrated the initiation of production for the Finnish Navy’s new ships, heralding a transformative advancement in maritime technology. These composite masts, equivalent in height to a towering five-story building, are poised to elevate the capabilities of Finland’s naval fleet.

The masts’ production represents a strategic partnership between Saab and the Finnish Navy. Saab is poised to propel the Finnish Navy’s maritime capabilities to new heights.

In a move towards redefining naval warfare, Saab signed a contract in September 2019, designating them as a subcontractor for Finland’s visionary Squadron 2020 programme. This endeavour aims to equip the Finnish Navy with four ships of the Pohjanmaa class.

According to GlobalData’s “Finland Defense Market 2023-2028” report, with a displacement of around 3,900 tons and a length of 114 metres, the Pohjannmaa class will be some of the largest the Finnish Navy has ever operated and will carry a wide array of sensors and armaments including torpedoes, anti-air missiles and surface-to-surface missiles from a variety of foreign suppliers, including Saab, Raytheon and Israel Aerospace Industries. 

The masts, produced using the same composite material utilized in the esteemed Swedish Visby-class corvettes, serve as a testament to Saab’s commitment to advancing maritime technology across borders.

Mats Wicksell, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab’s Business Area Kockums expressed his enthusiasm for this collaboration, stating, “This was an important day, and we are proud to be part of the work to strengthen the Finnish Navy’s capabilities. We look forward to delivering our world-leading composite solutions and combat systems in close cooperation with our Finnish customers.”

Carbon fibre, an alternative, promises enhanced efficiency through reduced weight, minimized radar signatures, and increased corrosion resistance. Integrating these advanced materials lowers fuel consumption and empowers ships to allocate more weight to additional capabilities, further underscoring the potential of this visionary collaboration.

James Marques, aerospace, defence, & security analyst at GlobalData, highlighted the importance of the ships. “They’re replacing seven older ships with a range of tasks, it’s expected to fill a lot of roles, including minesweeping patrolling and missile attacks.”

The composite masts, destined to become an emblem of maritime excellence, are anticipated to become operational within 2027-2029. The build of the first Pohjanmaa Corvette is to begin at the end of this year, following delays.