STOCKHOLM — Sweden said Thursday it would order two new submarines to boost its armed forces months after a futile hunt for a suspected Russian mini-sub in the Stockholm archipelago.
"The order ... will ensure Sweden's underwater capacity beyond 2030," Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said in a statement.
"Underwater capacity is a central part of Sweden's defense in peace time, as well as during emergencies and war," the ministry added.
Although no Swedish official ever identified the nationality of the elusive mini-sub — hunted in a massive naval operation for a week in October following civilian sightings — experts widely believed it to be Russian.
The failure to locate the sub raised questions over the non-aligned country's military capabilities after years of cutbacks in the post-Cold War era.
The two new generation A 26 submarines to be produced by Swedish arms groups Saab have a maximum price tag of 8.2 billion kronor ($945 million, €886 million).
They are set to be delivered by 2022 at the latest.
Last week the government announced a 6.2 billion-kronor hike in defense spending largely focused on upgrading its capacity to detect and intercept submarines.
The extra funds would also be used to re-establish a permanent military presence on the strategic Baltic Sea island of Gotland, situated between southern Sweden and Latvia, for the first time in 10 years.