Top secret submarine weapon checked under realistic circumstances

During a dark October night, one of the Navy’s submarines met a service ship to load torpedoes. What happened in the quiet bay on the Swedish east coast proves that one of the top secret capabilities of the Swedish Armed Forces functions very well, also under realistic conditions.

During a dark October night, the torpedoes were loaded on the submarine. Photo: Jonas_Helmersson

The Navy’s submarines are top secret. Only a limited number within the Swedish Armed Forces know of their whereabouts and assignments. The preparedness check that was carried out demonstrated their operational capacity under field-like conditions.

Complex operation at sea

Providing a submarine with new torpedoes at sea is a complex operation, but necessary if it is to operate at sea, should the submarine base be knocked out. During the preparedness check, there was a sudden order to perform the operation. During an operation of this kind, the units are informed of their own tasks only. The command alone has the whole picture.

“When the order is given occurs without prior notice, there is no time for adjustments. These checks mean that we test the submarine system in a more authentic way. This requires considerable support from other units, says Adam Camél, director of the preparedness check.

When the area was secured from land and naval units were guarding the area surrounding the bay, torpedoes were transported to the meeting point. Then something unusual happened. A team of photographers from the Swedish Armed Forces camera team appeared, driving along the coast, taking photos of the various features including the final loading of torpedoes.

Meeting in a dark bay

The submarine surfaced and set course for the meeting point. The sailors started loading torpedoes onto the submarine. The amount of time required for the operation is confidential, but when it was completed, the involved units left the location as quietly as when they arrived, disappearing out to sea and down below the dark surface of the Baltic Sea.

”The involved units were not given any explanation or time to prepare. There is always a risk of discussions or questions arising. This is all about checking the small steps in the process, to see that they run smoothly. The Navy solved the task just as they would have done, had there been an external threat”, says Brigadier-General Peder Ohlson, Deputy Chief of Swedish Navy.

Regular capability checks

Preparedness checks are an important instrument for the Swedish Armed Forces in order to follow up on accessibility and preparedness among capabilities. The time for the preparedness check was chosen with care. A variety of activities are being conducted in the vicinity of Sweden this autumn and at the time of the preparedness check, a large number of armed vessels were moving across the Baltic Sea.

During the upcoming months, the Chief of Joint Operations has planned a number of preparedness checks in order to test the various capabilities of the Swedish Armed Forces.