SAAB to Provide Combat Systems for Finnish Corvette Program

SAAB Press Center has announced that the Government of Finland selected Saab as the combat system provider and integrator for the Finnish Navy’s four new Pohjanmaa-class corvettes within the Squadron 2020 programme.

Saab has not yet signed a contract or received an order relating to Squadron 2020. Finland’s Ministry of Defence has stated that the contract is scheduled to be signed on 26 September 2019 and that the order value will be 412 million Euro.

“This announcement marks a major milestone in Saab’s relationship with Finland and we look forward to continuing to support the Finnish Navy’s capabilities with our world-leading combat system expertise”, says Anders Carp, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Surveillance.

The contract period will be 2019-2027 and the scope will include a range of solutions, including Saab’s 9LV Combat Management System, related sensors and other systems.

All of the Finnish Navy’s current vessels feature at least one system from Saab, with the majority of vessels operating several systems from Saab.

Pohjanmaa Class Corvette Program:

The Pohjanmaa-class corvette is a class of general-purpose surface combatants currently under development for the Finnish Navy as part of the Squadron 2020 project. Together with the existing four Hamina-class missile boats, the four new corvettes will form the backbone of the Finnish Navy from the mid-2020s onwards. They will replace seven older vessels that have been or are due to be decommissioned: the minelayer Pohjanmaa, two Hämeenmaa-class minelayers and four Rauma-class missile boats.

Rauma Marine Constructions and Saab will be the main contract partners for Pohjanmaa Class Corvettes.

Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC Oy and RMC Defence Oy) based in Rauma will construct the vessels for the Squadron 2020 project. Following the invitation to tender, the Swedish Saab AB was selected as the supplier of the vessel’s combat system. In addition to concluding an industrial cooperation contract with Saab AB, Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen decided on the procurement of ship-class propellers and propeller shafts from the Finnish company Aker Arctic Technology Oy.

Since 2016, the Finland Defence Forces have negotiated with Rauma Marine Constructions Oy (RMC) on the construction of Pohjanmaa-class vessels at RMC shipyard in Rauma. Before the construction contract, a letter of intent and a design contract were concluded with RMC.

The vessels will be designed and constructed in Rauma, and Finnish and foreign companies will be subsystem suppliers and subcontractors. While the actual construction phase will be staggered over 2022-2025 the class will be fully operational by 2028.

Saab was selected as the supplier of the combat systems for Pohjanmaa-class vessels.  The contract includes four integrated combat systems installed on board ships, consisting of sensors, weapons and command systems. The combat system supplier also undertakes to integrate the systems which will be supplied by the Finland  Defence Forces.

In addition to the package to be procured from Saab, Pohjanmaa-class vessels will be equipped with a surface-to-air missile system, surface-to-surface missile system and a torpedo weapon system. Naval guns and decoy launchers will be removed from Hamina-class fast attack missile crafts and installed on the new vessels. 

Finland Minister of Defence Kaikkonen authorised the Finland Defence Forces Logistics Command to make a contract with the Finnish company Aker Arctic Technology Oy on the design, supply and integration of propellers and propeller shafts for Pohjanmaa-class vessels. Aker Arctic Technology Oy has been developing propellers under the Defence Forces’ leadership since 2015.

Ship Specifications :

The overall length of the Pohjanmaa-class corvettes is 105 m (344 ft), and the beam spans 15 m (49 ft). The ships displace about 3,000 tonnes (3,000 long tons; 3,300 short tons) at standard load and 3,300 tonnes (3,200 long tons; 3,600 short tons) when fully loaded. Each ship compliments a crew of 66–120.

The corvettes are going to be armed with Bofors 57 mm guns, ESSM surface-to-air missiles, Gabriel surface-to-surface missiles, Torped 47 anti-submarine torpedoes, as well as sea mines.

The surface-to-air missile system was selected in a competition between MBDA’s Sea Ceptor, the Indo-Israeli Barak 8, and the U.S. Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM), with the latter being selected. The missile is built by Raytheon Missile Systems and BAE Systems in Aberdeen, South Dakota, builds the 8-cell Mk 41 quad missile canisters, of which the vessels are going to be equipped with the 7.7 m (25 ft)-long strike-length variant. Each ship will therefore be able to carry 32 ESSM missiles.

The anti-ship missiles were also selected in a competition between the Israeli IAI’s Gabriel 5 missile, MBDA’s Exocet MM40, the Swedish RBS-15 Mk.IV, the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile (NSM) and the U.S. RGM-84Q-4 Harpoon Block II+ ER Grade B Surface-Launched Missiles and RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Grade B Surface-Launched Missiles. The Gabriel 5 was selected in 2018.

The anti-submarine torpedoes are going to be the Swedish Torped 47 design, a light-weight torpedo, optimized for Baltic Sea conditions. The Finnish navy is going to loan and train with the earlier Swedish design Torped 45 until the final delivery of the model 47

The vessels will also be able to lay sea mines.