Swedish Navy

Swedish Royal Navy

Coat of arms of the Swedish Navy.
Founded June 7, 1522 (1522-06-07)
Country  Sweden
Part of Swedish Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Karlskrona
March Kungliga Flottans paradmarsch by Wagner
Anniversaries 9th of July (Battle of Svensksund)
Engagements Swedish War of Liberation (1510-23)
Count's Feud (1534-36)
Russo-Swedish War (1554–57)
Nordic Seven Years' War (1563-70)
Russo-Swedish War (1590–95)
Polish–Swedish War (1600–29)
Ingrian War (1610–1617)
Kalmar War (1611-13)
Thirty Years' War (1630–1648)
Torstenson War (1643-45)
Second Nordic War (1657-60)
Scanian War (1675-79)
Great Nordic War (1700-1721)
Russo-Swedish War (1741–43)
Seven Years' War (1756-1763)
Russo-Swedish War (1788–90)
First Barbary War (1801–1802)
War of the Fourth Coalition (1805–1810)
Finnish War (1808–1809)
Dano-Swedish War of 1808-1809
Swedish-Norwegian War (1814)
Cold War (1970 - 1991)
Operation Atalanta 2008 – ongoing
Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Jens Nykvist
Naval Ensign and Jack
Naval Ensign 1844–1905
Naval Ensign 1815–1844

The Swedish Royal Navy (Swedish: Svenska marinen) is the naval branch of the Swedish Armed Forces.[1] It is composed of surface and submarine naval units the Fleet (Kungliga Flottan) as well as marine units, the Amphibious Corps (Amfibiekåren).

In Swedish, vessels of the Swedish Navy are given the prefix "HMS," short for Hans/Hennes Majestäts Skepp (His/Her Majesty's Ship). In English, this is often changed to "HSwMS" ("His Swedish Majesty's Ship") to differentiate Swedish vessels from those of the British Royal Navy.[2]


The old Swedish kings (ca. 9th–14th centuries) organised a Swedish Royal Navy along the coastline through an organisation referred to as ledungen. These would be combined rowing and sailing ships (without artillery). This organisation became obsolete with the development of society and advancement of warfare. No later than in the 14th century, the duty to serve in "ledungen" was replaced by a tax. In 1427, when Sweden was still part of the Kalmar Union (with Denmark and Norway), Swedish warships did however participate in the naval battle of Öresund (the Sound) against the Hanseatic League. It is unclear how this force was organised and exactly on what basis.

On June 7, 1522, one year after the separation of Sweden from the Kalmar Union, Gustav Vasa purchased a number of ships from the hanseatic town of Lübeck which is often recorded in official Swedish history since the 19th century as the birth of the current Swedish Navy. (The museum ship Vasa in Stockholm was e.g. a 17th-century ship of the Royal Swedish Navy (Kungliga flottan)).

The Amphibious Corps dates back to January 1, 1902, when a separate "Coastal Artillery" (Kustartilleriet) was established, and Marinen came into use as the name of the service as a whole. The last decade of the 20th century saw the abandonment of the coastal fortifications and the force became a more regular marine corps, renamed Amphibious Corps (Amphibious Corps) in 2000.

For most of the twentieth century the Swedish Navy focused on the threat of a full-scale invasion of Sweden via the Baltic and protecting commercial shipping. Sweden's location on the Scandinavian peninsula makes it highly dependent of maritime trade: 90% imports and exports enter or leave Sweden through the Baltic. In 1972, the government decreed that non-military measures should be used to protect merchant shipping. The resolution led to the de-commissioning of all the navy's destroyers and frigates, though the non-military measures the government intended to use to protect shipping have never been specified.

The collapse of the Soviet Union diminished the threat of an invasion of Sweden over the Baltic.. However, with the re-armament of Russia, its unstable democratic development, and the potentially increased strategic importance of the Baltic Sea has led to continued support for Swedish naval patrols in the Baltic. In 1995 Swedish mine-clearance units furthermore took the lead in clearing the waters of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania of thousands of mines and other explosives.

The Swedish Navy has four units that are capable of deploying within 30 days. These are a corvette squadron (two Göteborg class) with a support ship, a mine countermeasures squadron (two Landsort class) with a support ship, one submarine, and a forward naval support element. In the near future there will also be an amphibious unit on 30 days standby.

The navy first participated in a UN-led peacekeeping mission in October 2006 when the corvette HSwMS Gävle began performing coastal surveillance duties for the United Nations Mission in Lebanon. HSwMS Gävle was relieved by HSwMS Sundsvall, which returned to Sweden in September 2007.

In 2008 the last of Sweden's submarine hunting helicopters was retired, leaving the country with essentially no ASW capability.[3]

HSwMS Malmö, Stockholm, and Trossö took part in the EU-led EUNAVFOR operation off the coast of the Horn of Africa. In 2010, HSwMS Carlskrona was the EUNAVFOR flagship, housing the fleet headquarters led by RADM (LH)(Flottiljamiral) Jan Thörnqvist.[4]


Until recently, the Navy was led by the Chief of the Navy (Chefen för marinen, CM), who was typically a Vice Admiral. This office has been eliminated, and the highest officer of the Navy is now the Chief of Navy (Marinchefen), Rear Admiral Jan Thörnqvist, who is the senior representative of the Swedish Navy’s combat forces.

The Marine units use the same system of rank as the Army.

Amphibious units



The Swedish destroyer HSwMS Östergötland, decommissioned in 1982.

In the decades following World War II, the Swedish Navy was organised around three light cruiser groups (Tre Kronor, Göta Lejon and Gotland). In the early 1960s, a decision, known as Navy Plan 60 (Swedish: Marinplan 60), was made to scrap the cruisers and move towards a larger fleet of smaller vessels. The last cruiser, Göta Lejon, was sold in 1970 to Chile, where she was renamed Almirante Latorre. The fleet at the time comprised some 24 destroyers and frigates for surface warfare (mainly in the Baltic Sea) and anti-submarine warfare.

The Swedish Navy started to experiment with missiles, based on a recovered German V-2 rocket, as early as 1944. The main armament of the fleet was artillery and torpedoes for surface warfare and anti-submarine rockets for anti-submarine warfare. Helicopters (Alouette, Boeing Vertol) were introduced in the late 1950s and 1960s and this fleet air arm remained an integral part of the fleet and its operations until an independent helicopter arm was created in 1990s.

The 1972 decision made by the Government to decommission all destroyers and frigates within the next decade limited the Navy's endurance considerably, but the use of smaller short-range ships was at the time deemed adequate for anti-shipping missions along the coast and in the archipelago. In the 1980s, this assessment was proven wrong by repeated failures in anti-submarine warfare operations with inadequate ships and equipment. Today, the largest (surface) combat ships are corvettes which combine surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine clearance functions with a better endurance and seaworthiness than the budget fleet from the 1980s.

Since the 1980s, Swedish surface warships have been named after Swedish cities, while submarines are named after Swedish provinces and minehunters after Swedish lighthouses. The surface ships are mostly small, relying on agility and flexibility. Examples of these are the Stockholm and Göteborg-class corvettes. The Navy is currently taking into service the new, larger, Visby class of stealth corvettes. A new submarine class, Gotland, similar to the older Västergötland, has recently been commissioned. Its air-independent Stirling engine enables submerged endurance never before seen in conventional submarines. Gotland has been on lease with crew and all to the US Navy and was based in San Diego.

The Amphibious Battalion is built around the Stridsbåt 90H, a small combat boat capable of carrying 21 troops for fast transports and landings in the archipelago. It is also equipped with larger transport boats, but relies on the Army, Navy and Air Force for heavy transports and protection. Cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Navy is under investigation for Amphibious Warfare.

The Swedish Air Force has 9 land based NH-90 ASW helicopters, no ship in the current inventory is capable of supporting NH-90 helicopters. The Strategic review of the Swedish Armed Forces might include larger (OPV sized) helicopter capable ships providing critical ASW capability in response to recent Russian submarine activities in Swedish national waters.

Surface vessels

HSwMS Jägaren


Class Number
of ships
Builder Origin Notes
Stockholm class 2 Karlskronavarvet AB Sweden 2 in service
Göteborg class 2 Karlskronavarvet AB Sweden total of 4 ships completed. 2 in service and 2 decommissioned.
Visby class 5 Karlskronavarvet AB Sweden 3 commissioned


Class Number
of ships
Builder Origin
Landsort class 2 Karlskronavarvet AB Sweden
Koster class 5 Karlskronavarvet AB Sweden
Styrsö class 4 Karlskronavarvet AB Sweden

Patrol boats

Class Number
of ships
Builder Origin
Tapper class 12 Djupviks varv Sweden
Jägaren class 1 Sweden

Combat boats


Auxiliary vessels

School ships


Chiefs of the Navy

Chiefs of Navy Staff

Inspectors General of the Navy

Inspectors of the Navy

Chiefs of Navy

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Swedish Navy.


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