Sweden’s security dilemma has worsened in recent times due to Moscow’s decreasingly aggressive geste
, as demonstrated by Russia’s irruption of Georgia in 2018, its irruption and annexation of Crimea in 2014, and its full- scale irruption of Ukraine in February 2022. The consequences of implicit Russian expansion into the Baltic Sea region are particularly dire for Stockholm, given Sweden’s control over the strategically important islet of Gotland positioned in the heart of the Baltic Sea. Given this situation, Sweden’s National Defense Strategy has renewed its focus on territorial defense and strengthening security in the Baltic Sea region(Foi.se, November 2017).
still, if Sweden is to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization( NATO), it needs believable defense- by- denial mechanisms to support NATO air and bullet defense structures. thus, it’s imperative that Sweden possesses believable capabilities in these areas, given the country’s position within the northern hand of NATO’s air defense armature, which extends from the northern props of Norway to Iceland and Greenland.
To that end, indeed before the launch of Russia’s full- scale irruption of Ukraine, the Swedish Armed Forces introduced the accession of a new Patriot face- to- air bullet system in 2021, formally known as Air Defense System 103, or LvS 103(Forsvarsmakten.se, November 19, 2021). The LvS 103 will allow the Swedish service to extend its trouble interception range largely due to the two types of dumdums the system utilizes the Guided Enhanced Bullet, GEM- T, and the PAC- 3 MSE; the ultimate is optimized for defense against ballistic dumdums(Fmv.se, August 18, 2022). The system reached its original functional capability by December 2021, meaning that it could now be put into active service( Aviation Week, December 20, 2021). According to also- Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist, the preface of the new Patriot system enables the Swedish Armed Forces to strengthen their air defense capability, pointing out that the LvS 103 allows Sweden to “ fight long- range dumdums and air attacks and also be suitable to fight ballistic dumdums ”(Forsvarsmakten.se, November 19, 2021). Hultqvist further explained, “ This is a important modernization and upgrade of Swedish air defense and Swedish defense capabilities as a whole ”( Army Technology, November 22, 2021).
The new Patriot system replaces one of Sweden’s aging air defense systems, the US- made MIM- 23 Hawk face- to- air bullet system. The Patriot also serves as a interference against Russian short- range, nuclear-able Iskander ballistic dumdums stationed in Kaliningrad, which present a trouble to crucial Swedish areas, including Gotland and Stockholm.
The accession of Patriot systems not only benefits Sweden from a security perspective, but it also benefits Stockholm’s foreign policy objects by enabling the Swedish Armed Forces to more integrate with the air defense network of other NATO members. In the words of Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson, the accession of advanced systems, similar as the Patriot, give Stockholm with the capabilities and means to integrate fluently into NATO’s defense planning( Sputnik, January 30).
While for Sweden, this interoperability will be necessary for using NATO’s air and bullet defense means in the most conducive manner, for NATO, this interoperability would insure that member countries can completely exploit Sweden’s strategic position within the Baltic Sea region. Increased Swedish air defense capabilities would also give better protection for those counties that are formerly NATO members in the Baltic Sea region — videlicet, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Further, it would ease any command- and- control difficulties within NATO’s air and bullet defense armature.
In addition to the accession of the Patriot, in November 2021, some reports blazoned that the Swedish Armed Forces had reactivated Launch Unit 23, a medium- range air defense system that had been in material reserve for several times. This system, which includes face- to- air dumdums, a mounted gun system, as well as command radar and infrared cameras, can operate singly if need be but can also be connected to a central radar system. The system is planned to be stationed to Gotland to strengthen the air defense network there( Airforce Technology, March 18, 2021). According to Air Defense Regiment head, Colonel Mikael Beck, with the underpinning of air defense systems similar as Launch Unit 23, Sweden “ will now have indeed more units available. By using formerly being coffers more effectively, this is part of the fortified forces ’ growth ”( Airforce Technology, March 18, 2021).
Not only upgrading its capabilities in long- and medium- range air defense, Stockholm has also sought to upgrade its short- range capabilities. To that end, Sweden has introduced the RBS- 90 system to replace the RBS- 70 Man- Portable Air- Defense System. Compared to the RBS- 70, the RBS- 90 has a advanced top speed and lesser project, which is achieved through a sustained rocket motor installed in the new system(Armyrecognition.com, October 27, 2022). The IRIS- T SLM short- range ground- grounded face- to- air bullet system supplied by German establishment Diehl Defense is another important short- range capability of the Swedish Army. The addition of this system to Sweden’s magazine will enable Swedish forces to offer protection for corrective means and ground colors from upstanding pitfalls( Airforce Technology, October 4, 2019).
At ocean, meanwhile, in 2016, the Swedish Navy greeted theanti-ship air defense RBS- 15 Mk3 bullet system by using corridor from a preliminarily scrapped battery and discontinued vessels(Forsvarsmakten.se, March 17, 2021). similar way enable the Swedish Armed Forces to stay in sync with Stockholm’s policy of “ total defense, ” in which Sweden’s top brass plan to optimally use defense and security coffers without disturbing the state’s profitable growth and substance(Defence24.com, August 25, 2022).
Looking toward the future, Stockholm continues to seek out farther options for bolstering its defense- by- denial capabilities. At ocean, the proposed RBS- 15 Mk4 Gungniranti-ship bullet will strengthen Sweden’s capability to destroy a bullet before it’s launched. Thisanti-ship bullet can be launched from Visby- class corvettes of the Swedish Navy and from the Gripen- E multirole fighter aircraft. The system can also be land- grounded and integrated within any command( Naval Technology, January 4, 2021). In the air, the ramjet- powered air- to- air Meteor BVRAAM bullet system was lately tested in August 2022 by the Swedish Air Force. Launched from a Gripen- E, the Meteor is able of interdicting aircraft, unmanned upstanding vehicles( UAVs) and voyage dumdums( The Eurasian Times, August 30, 2022).
likewise, in 2022, reports indicated that Saab had developed a mobile short- range air defense system. The system, which includes advancedmulti-mission 3D radar and short- range RBS- 70 dumdums, is coordinated with Saab’s ground- grounded air defense command- and- control system. Overall, it’s able of relating and engaging a different array of upstanding pitfalls, including fighter spurts, copters, dumdums, rockets, ordnance, mortars, UAVs and loitering munitions( Army Technology, May 8, 2022).
In terms of unborn hookups, it’s possible that, in the near future, Sweden will acquire factors of Israeli air and bullet defense systems, similar as radars, as Stockholm has openly expressed its interest in Israeli capabilities. Israel’s defense systems are equipped with Link 16 politic data protocols that make them compatible with NATO and US defense systems( The Insider, November 17, 2022).
The farther development of holistic air and bullet defense capabilities that include ground- grounded, air- launched and ocean- launched platforms would enable Sweden to play a pivotal part in Baltic Sea region defense, completing NATO’s security structure there. Stockholm will also aim to play a more active part in air and bullet defense through bettered radars and detectors as it brings to an end its period of impartiality and moves toward a further grueling part within NATO.