Poland and Sweden forge ahead in maritime security and defence cooperation

By Defence Industry Europe

On March 7, the second Polish-Swedish Naval Technology Forum was held at the Naval Academy in Gdynia, Poland. This gathering underscored the deepening ties between the two nations, especially in maritime security, armament, and shipbuilding, against the backdrop of the ongoing Ukrainian conflict and Sweden's recent NATO accession. The forum's agenda highlighted the strategic importance of the Baltic Sea in safeguarding not only its adjacent states but the entirety of Europe.

 

The event was attended many participants, including journalists, students, and lecturers from the Naval Academy, alongside prominent speakers like Anna Uggla, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Sweden in Poland; Prof. Katarzyna Pisarska, Chairperson of the Warsaw Security Forum; and Cmdr. Prof. Bartłomiej Pączek, Dean of the Faculty of Command and Maritime Operations. Their insights illuminated the criticality of bolstering operational cooperation amidst the shifting security landscape.

“The tightening of operational cooperation between Poland and Sweden is currently crucial. The Swedes, grateful for Poland’s support in the NATO accession process, commit to increasing joint efforts for security,” emphasized Anna Uggla.

 

 

The discussions did not shy away from addressing the challenges posed by Russia’s assertive maneuvers in the Baltic, which have heightened security concerns. Prof. Pisarska remarked on the global pressures facing the United States, advocating for Europe to proactively enhance its security framework within NATO, particularly through advancements in the defence industry.

Poland and Sweden have recently been tightening their cooperation in the field of maritime security, as well as the armaments and shipbuilding industries. For many years, the Polish Navy has been a user of weaponry supplied by the Swedish defence industry, including the RBS15 Mk3 anti-ship missiles, which are currently deployed on the Orkan-class missile ships. The Polish Navy has been using these missiles for over ten years.  The RBS15 Mk3E missiles have also been selected as the anti-ship weapon for three modern frigates that Poland is acquiring as part of the Miecznik programme.

However, the most telling evidence of the mutual trust between Poland and Sweden is their cooperation in the field of reconnaissance and intelligence systems, which represent the most closely guarded and sensitive technologies. In November 2022, the Swedish defence company Saab signed a contract worth approximately EUR 620 million to supply two SIGINT ships to the Polish Navy. The construction of both units is already underway, with the Polish shipyard Remontowa Shipbuilding participating as an industrial partner in the project, responsible for the production of the platforms, while Saab supplies the advanced SIGINT technologies. Both units are to be delivered to the Polish Navy in 2027.

 

 

Saab is also a supplier of Seabed Warfare solutions to the Polish Navy. The Double Eagle SAROV unmanned underwater vehicles equip three Kormoran II-class mine destroyers. They will also be supplied for three more ships of this class, which are currently being built by the Polish shipbuilding industry.

Furthermore, Poland is currently preparing to launch a tender to acquire three new-type submarines as part of the Orka programme. In this case too, Sweden has an offer for Poland, which also includes deep industrial cooperation. Saab’s proposal for the Polish Navy in the Orka programme involves modern A26 (Blekinge-class) submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP) based on the Stirling engine. Saab Kockums is currently building two such submarines for the Swedish Navy.

 

 

A focal point of the forum was the evolution of maritime technology in Poland and Sweden, spotlighting the deployment of unmanned units for safeguarding critical underwater infrastructure and the Baltic Sea ecosystem. Cmdr. Prof. Bartłomiej Pączek delineated the strategic imperative of protecting seabed infrastructure, including gas pipelines from Norway and wind farms, advocating for a robust NATO-led security mechanism.

“The Baltic is now called the NATO lake, but we must not neglect free trade and international maritime law. However, due to the need to secure gas supplies from Norway, we must strengthen the protection of critical infrastructure on the seabed and wind farms,” explained Cmdr. Bartłomiej Pączek. He believes that companies responsible for these installations cannot ensure their own protection, and NATO member states must take on this responsibility.

“A military system monitoring critical infrastructure and a rapid response system to threats should be established within NATO forces. Of course, this requires maintaining units at sea capable of taking immediate action,” added Cmdr. Prof. Pączek.

 

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