The Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV) has initiated the procurement of four barges designed to transport ships and supply vessels for the Swedish Armed Forces.

The decision to acquire these new barges stems from the 2020 defence decision, which identified a critical need for improved maritime logistics support. “It is a capability that was requested in the defence decision 2020 and part of supplying material to the newly established naval base battalions. We are currently finalising the requirements specification for the ships,” said Carl Johan Widmark, FMV project manager.

The new barges are designed to transport various goods, including trucks and containers, and will also be equipped to handle waste and water supplies. These ships will resupply the Navy’s ships and submarines at sea, thereby reducing the need for vessels to return to port for refuelling and rearming.

“The push ships mean that other ships will not have to go into port to, for example, bunker diesel or load ammunition, but they should be able to do that out at sea. The new ability that the strait ships have means that the logistics of the navy’s ships will become more flexible and less vulnerable,” Widmark emphasised.

The procurement process has begun with a call for applications to qualify suppliers, marking the first step in the acquisition strategy. FMV plans to purchase civilian vessels and later retrofit them with military systems at a specialised shipyard. This two-stage approach is intended to streamline the process and ensure that the new ships meet the requirements of the Swedish Navy.

The first two ships are expected to be delivered by 2029, with the remaining two in 2030. The specifications for these vessels include a length of 42 metres (m), a width of 10.5m, and a speed of 12 knots. They will have an endurance of seven days, a crew capacity of 14, and can accommodate up to 35 passengers. Additionally, the barges will have load capacities, including 90 cubic meters of fuel oil and ten cubic meters of fresh water, with a deck load capacity of 55 tonnes and a general cargo capacity of 20 tonnes.

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In another recent Swedish naval development, Babcock International, in partnership with Saab, commenced the design phase for Sweden’s upcoming Luleå-class warships, following a recent agreement signed at Babcock’s Rosyth shipyard in Scotland. The collaboration signifies the commencement of producing four corvettes for the Swedish Navy.