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Sweden’s new surface combatants will be known as Lulea-class

Sweden's Lulea class surface combatant design
Saab graphic illustrating the new class of ships

The Swedish defense ministry announced earlier this week that the navy’s new surface combat ships will be named Luleå-class, honoring Swedish port cities.

With approval from HM the King, the first ship in the class will be HMS Luleå, followed by HMS Norrköping, HMS Trelleborg and HMS Halmstad.

It is worth noting that HMS Trelleborg will be the first ship to bear that name in the Swedish Navy. Trelleborg’s strategic importance was already seen during the Viking Age when a fortress was built on the site “Trelleborgen”. The earliest known record of the place is from 1257 when it was given as a wedding gift to Swedish Prince Valdemar (Birgersson) when he married the Danish Princess Sofia Eriksdotter.

The new ships will be developed and built by Saab under a contract from 2021. The deal also includes upgrades to the five existing Visby-class corvettes, which would allow them to remain operationally relevant “beyond the 2040s.”

The Luleå-class will be larger than the current Visby- and Gävle-class corvettes and be equipped to operate in all levels of conflict against targets on, above and below the surface.

While the exact configuration of the ships is not finalized yet, the defense ministry estimates the ships will start delivering around 2030.

In addition to naming the surface combatants, the defense ministry also revealed the name for its new harbor tugs, which will complement the navy’s larger tugs for work in naval ports and base areas. The tugs are part of the development of the navy’s logistics and base function. They will be delivered in 2023 and 2024.

The tugs will be known as the Hermes-class, after the lead tug. Other names will include Hera, Hebe and Hero.