Melbourne-based PMB Defence has announced it has been awarded the contract to supply main storage batteries to Saab for Sweden’s next-generation A26 Blekinge Class submarines.
The latest evolution of Sweden’s submarines are being designed and built by SAAB, Sweden's upgraded version of Uppland and her sister ship Gotland are paving the way for the most modern AIP submarine under production today: the Blekinge Class (A26). More than 20 new systems on-board the new Gotland Class will be implemented in the state-of-the-art A26, which contributes to their de-risking for the A26.
The A26 submarines will serve as successors to Gotland Class subs for the Swedish Navy, with deliveries to begin in 2022, and continue through to 2024. A26's capabilities include maritime security, covert mine countermeasure, intelligence and reconnaissance, anti-submarine/surface warfare, mine-laying and other operations.
The A26 vessels have two distinct variants designed to conduct a variety of missions:
- Pelagic: Adapted for long-range missions in narrow or littoral environments. Highly manoeuvrable with high speed and a large weapon load, Pelagic submarines have a lower acquisition price and operating cost and can also be offered with the Stirling AIP technology for superior submerged endurance.
- Oceanic/ER: Submarines in the Oceanic Extended Range (ER) segment are the largest in the series, designed for much longer missions, greater crew size and increased weapon payload capability. Oceanic ER submarines enable long-distance operations, suitable for any navy using forward deployment of their submarines on extended missions.
Building on over 100 years of experience, when launched the new class of submarine will be the most modern conventional submarine design in the world.
PMB Defence chief executive Stephen Faulkner said that the contract signing was the latest development in the company's long and collaborative relationship with Saab.
"This contract supplements our parallel development work with Saab and we are proud to apply our capability to battery systems for Sweden’s world leading conventional submarines. Delivery of battery systems to a new submarine class is consistent with our objective to be the world’s most credible designer and supplier of submarine battery systems," Faulkner explained.
Saab Australia managing director Andy Keough said fostering partnerships with quality Australian suppliers was a key focus for Saab in both its Australian and global operations.
Keough said, "Australian industry innovation helps drive our sovereign capability, so it’s great to see local defence industry businesses such as PMB succeeding in the global market with technology designed and built here in Australia. PMB has an established reputation for delivering innovative battery solutions to Australian defence, and this new contract with Saab will broaden their international reach in the supply of cutting-edge technology for the Royal Swedish Navy’s revolutionary submarines."
PMB will manufacture the battery systems at its new state-of-the art production, research and development and engineering facilities situated adjacent to the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide, South Australia.
PMB looks forward to a collaborative relationship with Saab, ensuring the Swedish Royal Navy gets the best battery and contributes to superior submarine performance. This contract supplements recent announcements regarding PMB’s purchase of the EnerSys’ submarine battery business and its supply contract with Canada.
Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions within military defence and civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents around the world. Through innovative, collaborative and pragmatic thinking, Saab develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.
Established in 1989, PMB Defence began life with a sole focus on producing the highest quality Main Storage Batteries for the Royal Australian Navy's Collins Class submarines. Assisted by privileged access to Australian stakeholders, the company has evolved into a leading supplier of high-quality energy and specialised engineering solutions in Australia and select international markets.
PMB's purpose-built production, R&D and engineering facilities are located at the heart of the naval shipbuilding in Australia, these new facilities represent a significant investment in submarine battery capability and capacity that will enable the next generation of systems to provide superior results for customers.