Sweden Deploys Land-based RBS15 Anti-ship Missiles in Gotland

Swedish land-based RBS-15 coastal defense systems deployed in southern Skåne. Picture credit: Swedish MoD.

The Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) have increased their presence on the country’s southern coast, including Gotland – Sweden’s southern island, as well as at sea, according to information released by the Swedish Ministry of Defense.

Press releases published by the Swedish Armed Forces indicate that warships from the third and fourth naval squadrons have been at sea more than usual in recent weeks around Sweden’ South coast, in order to gather intelligence and show their presence. Naval News understands this higher-than-usual operational tempo is due to the increase of Russian activities in the region. Indeed, in the last weeks, several Russian warships sailed through the Baltic Sea, possibly to strengthen Russian’s fleet in the Black Sea.

“The crews on the ships have worked for long periods at sea, in severe weather with a wave height of over four meters during certain periods. They have carried out their work very professionally despite difficult conditions.”

Jenny Ström, Commander of the Third Naval Battle Squadron.
Visby corvette at sea in recent weeks to gather intelligence. Swedish MoD picture.

In addition of deploying vessels at sea, the Swedish Armed Forces also deployed land-based coastal defence systems in southern Skåne (South region of Sweden). Those are equipped with RBS-15 anti-ship missiles. According to the press releases, “parts of the equipment come from former coastal defence systems, but much have been modernized and adapted to current conditions”.

Those defense systems were re-introduced into the armed forces back in 2016, and for some years now has been fully included as a military unit within the navy. The defence system unit is organizationally and tactically fully integrated into the Third Naval Battle Squadron.

The Swedish MoD underlined the capability of the land-based coastal defence unit to stay hidden, thus creating a tactical advantage.

“The ability for the coastal defense systems unit to operate covertly is an important complement to the ships”.

Jenny Ström, who is the commander of the Third Naval Battle Squadron

About Saab’s RBS15 anti-ship missile

The RBS15 (Robotsystem 15) is a long-range fire-and-forget surface-to-surface and air-to-surface, anti-ship missile, the first version of which (Mk I) entered service with the Swedish Navy in the mid 1980ies. It had a range of 70+ km

The RBS-15 Mk II, has the same range but brings improvements to the guidance system (which uses inertial, GPS and active radar homing). It is designed to be launched from land-based launchers, aircraft, and ships. Its production started in 1998.

The later version Mk III (not used by Sweden but in use with the German and Polish navies) has the ability to attack land targets and increases the missile range to over 200 km.

Sweden will be switching from the Mk II directly to the latest, Mk IV, variant (also known as Gungnir). According to Saab, it will have better range, a better seeker and lower weight. It is set to be deployed from Sweden’s Visby-class corvettes and JAS Gripen E fighters from the mid-2020ies.

The RSB15 (all variants) anti-ship missile has been selected by Sweden, Germany, Croatia, Finland, Poland, Thailand and Algeria.

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