Saab's A26 design includes a new innovative 6m x 1.5m Multimission Portal flexible payload capability with a lock system in addition to its conventional torpedo tubes. The lock system makes it easy for commandos to enter and exit the boat, and is large enough to allow the launch and retrieval of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles. UUVs are expected to play a larger role in future submarine warfare. They can already provide advance surveying and sensing capabilities, and their modification toward a combat role is a certainty. This will likely begin with coordinated decoying tactics, but UUVs are expected to graduate to active combat capabilities before the A26 leaves service.
Air Independent Propulsion
The A26 will be equipped with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) supplement to its diesel-electric systems, which is intended to allow it to remain underwater for up to 18 days at relatively slow speeds before its AIP fuel is exhausted. That avoids the need to surface and suck air for the diesel engines to recharge its batteries, a vulnerable time that was the absolute bane of conventional submarine operations until the USA introduced nuclear-powered boats. The A26’s AIP system will be the Saab Kockums’ Stirling, which also equips Sweden’s 3 Gotland and 2 Sodermanland Class submarines, Singapore’s Archer Class Sodermanlund variant, and Japan’s Soryu Class.
The submarine will also be prepared for network connectivity. A highly modular design facilitates efficient through-life upgrades and adaptations.