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HSwMS Orion

Intelligence gathering at sea is an important element in the control of what is happening along Sweden's borders. One of the most important components of this work is the armed Forces ship HMS Orion. Orion is easily recognized due to the large lying cylinder dominating its superstructure. With the help of the staff of the Swedish Armed Forces Radio Institute, FRA, intelligence gathering to perceive possible threats to Sweden's security.

The government has decided that HMS Orion will be replaced by a new vessel. The ship is part of the first submarine squadron and is stationed in Karlskrona. HMS Orion contains some of the most secretive things in the Swedish Armed Forces. In the cylinder at the top of the deck house there are advanced antennas which together with powerful computers make it possible to listen to and capture signals over large areas.

While the great naval exercise of Northern Coast 2014 was underway in Finland, electronic surveillance ship HMS Orion is at sea and conducts intelligence gathering. In cooperation with, among other things, maritime surveillance centres and the Swedish Defence Radio Institute, FRA collects intelligence on what is happening in Sweden's vicinity.

An increased activity in Sweden's local area is monitored by several resources within the Swedish Armed forces. One of these resources is HMS Orion. She is with her equipment and crew's expertise an important part of Sweden's intelligence gathering. With a lot of time at sea she contributes to Sweden having good information about what is happening in the area.

In Sweden there are land-based, airborne and ship cage signals intelligence activities. With the ship's caged signals intelligence activities you get a longer endurance and presence in an operating area while airborne signals intelligence activities covers larger areas, due to its altitude, for less time.

Activity in recent years, but particularly recently, has increased. A change in the behavior of neighbours is something that has been observed. A lot of time at sea gives HMS Orion and her crew good opportunities to create a normal picture of the situation in the Baltic Sea. This normal image is continuously evaluated to detect anomalies that may be of interest to Sweden. Neighbouring countries use the Baltic Sea as a natural place for provturs and Övningsverksamhet. For example, some of Russia's main shipyards are in the Baltic.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the new construction and maintenance of Russian naval vessels went down. However, the construction of warships continued for export, including China and India. In recent years, new construction of naval vessels to Russia has taken a new impetus. There is a large turnover and expansion of the Russian navy.

Since her construction in 1984, HMS Orion has been a natural part of the Baltic Sea's everyday life. She is clearly recognized on the reclining cylinder she wears on top of the deck building. The cylinder protects some of her equipment and sensors. Onboard HMS Orion, the work is done in collaboration with FRA staff. The vessel has two crews which switch each other in order for the vessel to be at sea as much as possible. The crew has a broad expertise in, for example; Underwater combat and signals intelligence activities.

Sweden is not alone in having electronic surveillance vessels in and around the Baltic Sea. For example, Russia, Germany and Poland have electronic surveillance vessels that monitor exercises and the neighbourhood. All to give commanders a good basis for different decisions.

In December 2009 Kockums received an order from the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration, FMV, and the Marine Base in Karlskrona to extend the HMS Orion lifetime. Kockums has received an order from the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration, FMV, and the Marine Base in Karlskrona to extend the HMS Orion lifetime. She is known as the signal-tensioning vessel and has been used mainly in the Baltic Sea. She was built on the shipyard in Karlskrona in the early 1980s. The work on the ship begins in the dock, but then she was moved to the Shiplift and taken into the Skroghallen, where the bulk of the job was carried out. The ship was delivered back to the Navy in the spring of 2010. What needs to be addressed is a relatively large amount of work, which also takes place in a short time, so an intensive effort will be required to catch up with everything.

Försvarets radioanstalt (FRA), or the National Defence Radio Establishment as it is officially rendered in English, is the Swedish national authority for signals intelligence. FRA is also engaged in information assurance. On demand, we support government authorities and state owned companies regarding current IT threats as well as general advice to improve security. FRA is a civilian organisation, subordinated to the Ministry of Defence. Funds for 2007 are close to SEK 500 million. Oversight is provided by the Defence Intelligence Commission. FRA is led by a Director General assisted by a Deputy Director General and central functions for coordination and planning. Since 1 September 2006, the line organisation consists of seven divisions: COMINT, ELINT, Information Assurance, Systems Development, Systems Maintenance, Personnel and Administration. FRA main customers are the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Defence, the Military Intelligence And Security Directorate (MUST) and the Security Police.

Fixed sites on Swedish territory are complemented with a SIGINT ship (Orion) operating in the Baltic, and two Gulfstream IV aircraft capable of extended missions. The ship is run by the Swedish Navy and the aircraft by the Air Force, both on behalf of FRA, whose operators are doing the collection.

Length 61.3 m
Width 11.7 m
Draft 3.8 m
Displacement 1205 tonnes
Maximum speed 15 knots
Crew 25

HSwMS Orion HSwMS Orion HSwMS Orion

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Page last modified: 03-05-2019 18:39:00 ZULU