In Light Of Russian Aggression And NATO Ascension , Swedish Air Force Is Developing A New Fighter Strategy
- The service is working on a short-term plan to strengthen its fleet in addition to making plans for future aircraft development.
- The establishment of a seventh fighter squadron by the Swedish Air Force, according to Edstrom, is "very good" at this point.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia and Sweden’s participation in that NATO alliance, according to the head of the Swedish Air Force, are motivating the service to create a new plan for its upcoming fighter aircraft.
Due to these important geopolitical developments, the Swedish government increased its 2022 military budget by $3 billion krona ($286.6 million) to 2 percent of gross domestic product from approximately 1.5 percent. Swedish Air Force Chief Maj. Gen. Carl-Johan Edstrom stated that his military is creating a strategy with the increased funding that would guide future requirements for fighter aircraft.
In a speech on July 17 at the Royal Air Force Club in London, Edstrom remarked, “We need to put out a fresh plan as a country for our fighter systems. The work is anticipated to be finished by the service in November.
Saab was given a contract of $23.8 million by the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration in June to research the development of fighter aircraft in the future.
The aerospace business, which has its headquarters in Sweden, makes the Gripen aircraft used by the Swedish Air Force. The service intends to start retiring its C/D-model Gripens in 2035, and Saab’s research will help it develop its replacement plan.
When asked if the service would need to specialise in any areas as a result of the nation’s membership in NATO, Edstrom responded that it was too early to say. The decision to admit Sweden and Finland was recently ratified by the alliance’s 30 member nations this month, but the move won’t become official until all member states’ legislative bodies have done the same, which may take a year.
Edstrom predicted that NATO “would like us to stay in that position and be a leading nation when it comes to developing the future fifth-generation systems” because Sweden is one of only three Western nations, along with France and the U.S., with the demonstrated ability to produce domestic fighter aircraft.
The service is working on a short-term plan to strengthen its fleet in addition to making plans for future aircraft development. The establishment of a seventh fighter squadron by the Swedish Air Force, according to Edstrom, is “very good” at this point. In order to fill the squadron, the service will need to purchase more Gripens, perhaps 60 of the more recent E-model aircraft and possibly 60 C/D types, according to Edstrom.
According to him, the Swedish Air Force is considering adding modern armaments and a new radar system to its fleet of Gripen C/D aircraft.