Sweden’s government has chosen the American Patriot system in a major defence contract, deciding not to buy a French-Italian product.
The new product, which is estimated to cost SEK 20-25 billion, is expected to be able to protect Stockholm, important military bases and harbours against airstrikes, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist explained that he made the decision on the recommendation of the Swedish Armed Forces, following a thorough assessment of the different options.
From the centre-right opposition, Moderate defence spokesperson Hans Wallmark explained it was crucial for him to back the government on this issue. “We need this capability, it’s something we’ve pointed out for several years, that we need this equipment, so it’s important that we start this process now,” he said.
Yet he pointed out that he was not on board with other elements of Social Democrat defence policy – such as their oppostion to NATO membership.
He also suggested that this purchase would send a message to Europe that Sweden was increasing its defence capabilities and investing more. Furthermore, it was “not going to hurt” US-Sweden relations.
The delivery of the new missile system is expected to begin in 2020 and be complete by 2025.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Canadian Army Exercise ARCTIC BISON 2017 challenged by winter thaw, Radio Canada International
Finland: Finland invites USA to join main military exercises, Yle News
Norway: Norway orders snap drill of 2,000 soldiers above Arctic Circle, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: FSB prepares to counteract nuclear terrorism in Murmansk region, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Mandatory military service to be reinstated in Sweden, Radio Sweden
United States: Russian bombers spotted outside Alaska…again, Alaska Public Radio Network