Sweden Flygvapnet / Swedish Air Force - Modernization
Swedish aviation units and subunits are equipped with weapons and military equipment, mainly of their own production. The air force of the Swedish Air Force is optimized to fulfill the tasks assigned to them. As of 2020 in service there were 97 JAS 39C / D Gripen fighter-bombers. For electronic reconnaissance and electronic warfare, two Gulf Stream IV 5RA-4 (S-102B) are used. AWACS is represented by three aircraft: S-100V and two S-100D "Argus". Transport aviation has eight aircraft: five medium TR-84 (S-1 ZON "Hercules"), two light TR-100C (SAAB 340) and passenger Gulf Stream 550 (TP-102D). There is also a KS-1 ZON Hercules tanker aircraft and 67 SAAB Sk-60W training aircraft. The Air Force was armed with eight RQ-7 Shadow UAVs. Helicopters: 14 Hkp-14 (NH-90), 12 Hkp-15A (AW-109), eight Hkp-15B (AW-109A) and 15 Hkp-16 (UH-60M Black Hawk.)
The Government established a new focus for Swedish defence in its Bill "A functional defence" 2008/09:140, published 19 March 2009. The air force must primarily develop the capability to operate in the Nordic region. It should also be able to participate in air operations together with other countries, in Sweden and within and outside our region. Most of the air force would therefore consist of permanent units. As far as equipment is concerned, around 100 JAS 39C/D aircraft would be available to the Swedish Armed Forces, in four divisions. The Riksdag approved action plan for the JAS 39 Gripen aircraft applied. The A/B version of the JAS 39 Gripen would be phased out and the fleet aligned. Greater focus must be placed on armament and usability. Sweden, along with other Gripen countries, must continue to develop the aircraft system and its capabilities so that it remains a core air defence component for several decades to come. Apart from this, the helicopter battalion's capability would be gradually developed through the introduction of new helicopter models. The need for helicopters for medical evacuation means that helicopter 10 would be modified.
Swedish Minster of Defence Karin Enström announced 21 June 2013that Sweden will buy 60 Gripen E fighter jets from Saab. The decision was within the span previously discussed, both by the Government and the Swedish Armed Forces, in order to meet future defence needs in Sweden until 2042. This decision once again showed the broad support both from politicians and authorities for Gripen being the back-bone of Swedish air defence for many years to come. It is also proof that Saab has developed a high technology multi role fighter which answers up to defined needs on the market.
FMV had previously said they are expecting a development order for the next generation Gripen in the beginning of 2013. This means that Gripen will be the only next generation fighter which de facto is produced in the western world. This was a proof of strength that showed Saab's high level of innovation and technological competency.
In 2015 the Social Democratic Party, the Moderate Party, the Green Party, the Centre Party and the Christian Democrats agreed on a bill to parliament on the Swedish Defence covering the years 2016 to 2020. The air forces would consist of four Air Wings with six Fighter Squadrons (JAS 39C/D), one Air Transport Squadron, one Air Combat Control and Air Surveillance Battalion and one Helicopter Wing.
The peacetime fighter training establishment would be reorganised to be able to serve alongside the other fighter squadrons in case of war, bringing the number of fighter squadrons to six. An adjustment of the number of fighter squadrons due to the future introduction of JAS 39 E would be considered in the future and is dependent on the possible decision to acquire an additional ten JAS 39 E fighters. Such a reorganisation would only be considered once the existing number of fighter aircraft merits a reduced number of squadrons. The capability to disperse the fighter squadrons within their regular bases as well as between alternate bases would be improved.
The Defence Commission suggested that the number of JAS 39E should increase from previously planned 60 to 70. Final delivery of the 60 JAS 39E would take place in the mid-2020s. The increase to 70 aircraft is dependent on a new decision to acquire these aircraft. Such a decision can wait until a later time. The availability of the fighter aircraft over an extended period of time is of special importance. The availability should allow for an increase in total flight hours, in turn contributing to the safe-guarding of air combat capabilities during the rearmament from JAS 39C/D to JAS 39 E.
Parts of the peacetime establishment of the air forces have previously not been organised as units with task in case of a raised alert or war. Thus the air forces would be reorganised into four Air Wings providing a high availability in peace as well as a high readiness in case of raised alert or war. The Air Wings maintain ground based services in peace and war and are responsible for dispersal, including to alternative bases. The Four Air Wings allow a flexible use of existing air bases. Investments in the bases would provide increased opportunities to disperse. This would increase the survivability of the air forces in case of war.
Existing tactical air transport aircraft (TP-84) would be maintained during the period. The Swedish Armed Forces are studying the possibilities of future acquisition of new tactical air transport aircraft.
The Helicopter Wing would operate three types of modern helicopters. The Helicopter units would give special attention to supporting the naval forces with anti-submarine capabilities as well as to supporting the land forces with tactical transport. The support to the Police authorities would continue.
On May 5, 2021, the Swedish Defense Procurement Agency (Försvarets materielverk) announced that it had signed a contract with the German aircraft company Grob Aircraft SE for the purchase of Grob G120TP turboprop training aircraft. These aircraft will be used in the Swedish Air Force for the main stage of flight training, and will replace the obsolete Saab 105 training jets, which have been in operation since 1967. The number of planes that will be purchased is not named, but the media, citing the commander of the Swedish Air Force, Major General Karl-Johan Edström, reports that seven planes, as well as ground simulators and equipment, have been contracted to begin with. The contract also includes an option to purchase additional aircraft. It is expected that the supply of new aircraft, which in the Swedish Air Force will be designated Sk 40, will be carried out from May 2022 to early 2023 in order to begin training cadets at the Flying School (Flygvapnets flygskola) of the Swedish Air Force in Malmo near Linkoping in the summer 2024.
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