March 17, 2015 / 6:52 PM / 5 years ago

Sweden to order two submarines from Saab, sets aside $945 million

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden, which last year launched its biggest military mobilization since the Cold War in a hunt for a suspected foreign submarine, will order two subs from defense material firm Saab, it said on Tuesday.

The Swedish government has said it will increase defense spending over the coming years, citing a worsening security situation, particularly Russian activity in and around the Baltic Sea.

“The government will on Thursday authorize the armed forces to order two submarines,” defense ministry spokeswoman Marinette Nyh Radebo said, confirming an announcement made by Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist at a news conference.

It had set aside 8.2 billion crowns ($945 million) for the purchase, she added. “From what we know now, it is the government’s single biggest investment this term,” she said.

In October troops, stealth ships and helicopters scoured the Stockholm archipelago after reports of foreign underwater activity. No intruder was brought to the surface, but the military later said it had proof a foreign submarine had been operating illegally in the waters.

($1 = 8.6792 Swedish crowns)

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Susan Thomas

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