(AP) STOCKHOLM, Sweden – The United States wants to lease a Swedish attack submarine for naval exercises in the Baltic Sea in a deal possibly worth tens of millions of dollars, defense officials said Sunday.
The Swedish submarine would play an “enemy” role in the exercises.
“We have asked the government for permission,” Swedish military spokesman Anders Hedgren told The Associated Press.
The Swedish submarine also would participate in joint submarine rescue exercises with the Americans, Hedgren said.
Defense Ministry spokeswoman Paula Burreau confirmed that talks were ongoing between Sweden and the United States.
The Green Party, which supports the government in parliament, criticized the proposed deal.
“Sweden has accused the United States for being involved in a war violating international law in Iraq. This deal feels ill-timed under the circumstances,” Green Party spokesman Lars Aangstroem said.
Stationing a submarine with a full Swedish crew outside Sweden for a year would cost as much as $21.2 million a year, press reports said.
The 200-foot-long attack submarine has a crew of 33.
Vice Admiral Kirkland H. Donald, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, praised the Swedish submarines during a visit to Sweden last month.
“The Swedish submarines are silent and have an excellent combat management system. They can be submerged for weeks. I am happy that we are on the same side,” Donald said.
Sweden has amended its staunch neutrality policy in recent years, leaving more room for increased military cooperation with other countries. It is a keen contributor to U.N. peacekeeping operations but has not fought a war since invading neighboring Norway in 1814.