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Saab Global

Saab Submarine Sail now in Roundabout

3 min read

Saab business unit Kockums has created an exact replica of the sail to a submarine class Näcken. The sail is a gift to the municipality of Karlskrona that now decorates a roundabout at European route 20 passing the city. The construction process has allowed Saab’s engineers to calibrate and improve the design process called Model Based Development (MBD). MBD facilitates the production phase in complex projects and opens for increased precision and effectivity in future ship building projects.


A full scaled replica of the sail of Kockums class Näcken submarine now decorates a roundabout passing Karlskrona at European route 22. Inspired by a citizens’ initiative the six-meter tall sail is a gift from Saab to the municipality manifesting the strong bonds between the city and the navy. The sail that is constructed in composite materials was designed using the original drawings from 1978. Kockums designers employed the process of Model Based Development (MBD). MBD can be understood as a digital design process focusing on facilitating the production phase of projects.

Måns Håkansson, Composite Specialist at Kockums is responsible of developing the decorative tower. He sees many advantages of MBD:

- This is a digitalized technique without any traditional paper drawings. The parts are designed with the production phase in mind so that they, in the easiest way possible, can be assembled. This increases both the precision and the effectivity of the project.

Using MBD the ship builders also avoid having to make expensive molds, which in the end lowers the costs of production considerably.

From a defense industry perspective, Saab was an early adopter and a front runner of MBD. The new version of JAS Gripen called Gripen E has for example been developed using this method. MBD has, together with other technology-transfers, become an increasingly important part of the company’s business.

-In this project, we have produced more than 200 unique parts, some of them as long as five and eight meters. Almost all parts fit perfectly and only a few of them had to be altered, he says highlighting the project as a perfect opportunity to learn valuable lessons about MBD for the future. The team behind the replica has, since its completion, produced other full-scale structures with great success.

The use of MBD puts Kockums specialists to the test.
-This method pushes the designers to think outside the box. To fully benefit from MBD, you need to have an overview of the process and consider the entire chain from start to finish in beforehand. With these challenges in mind I am very pleased with the results of this development project says Måns Håkansson who sees great potential in MBD.
Using this design process as a leading star, Kockums can maintain quality and efficiency in the ship building projects of tomorrow.