Sweden Flygvapnet / Swedish Air Force
The Swedish Air Force organises and trains air combat, command and control and base units which, in concert with land and naval units, make up the mission-oriented operational units of the Swedish Armed Forces. These units must be capable of being used both internationally and nationally. In peacetime the Swedish Armed Forces must also be capable of being used in support of the civil community. The air combat units have to be ready, once parliamentary approval has been given, to take part in military operations beyond Sweden's borders. In such cases the Air Force contributes both men and materiel and is able to put together specific units depending on the nature of the mission.
In accordance with its legislation for the period of peacetime, the Swedish leadership proclaims its adherence to the political course of non-alignment with military blocs. However, it believes that the participation of national armed forces (AF) units in NATO-led exercises and peacekeeping operations does not constitute a departure from its principles. At the same time, the country's government spends significant funds to further increase the capabilities of its armed forces, including the air force. According to the leadership of the Swedish military department, the implementation of plans to increase the combat capabilities of, first of all, aviation units and subdivisions of the national Armed Forces will allow for the coming years to ensure the necessary level of security for the country.
The Swedish Air Force is composed of flight units, base units and command and control units:
- Air combat units are capable of striking land, sea and air targets with high levels of precision, flexibility and firepower, and can also be used for intelligence gathering and upholding Sweden's territorial integrity. The Combat Command and Air Guard Battalion operates around the clock all year round to monitor and defend Swedish airspace by producing and distributing authorized air position, commanding the air combat forces and coordinating the air combat forces.
- Transport aircraft units carry out transport missions and are employed, for example, in humanitarian operations both nationally and internationally.
- Signals intelligence (SIGINT) units carry out signal intercept and intelligence gathering operations.
- Air surveillance units are used mainly to supplement the ground based radar stations.
- Helicopter units carry out land and sea based operations as well as search and rescue (SAR) duties. The helicopter flotilla is developing a helicopter battalion with a ground and sea operational focus. With its helicopter systems (HKP 14, HKP 15 and HKP 16), the unit can carry out military operations both nationally and internationally.
- Base and command unit, the principal task of which is to provide command and control for the air combat units.
The Inspector General of the Swedish Air Force is the most senior representative of the Swedish Air Force's air combat forces. The Inspector General also heads the Air Force Tactical Staff (FTS) which forms part of the operational staff at Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters. FTS leads activities utilising the Air Force's operational capabilities, for example in actual operations and deployments and in major exercises, both in Sweden and abroad.
The Air Force has about 500 active jet aircraft and several hundred more in reserve. Swedish highways are so designed that portions of themcan be used in emergencies as landing strips. On 27 January 1985, Sweden grounded its fighter jets on suspicion that the crash of a Viggen jet may have been due to sabotage. Investigation showed that the crash was due to loose screws and other metal objects inthe guidance system.
The Defence Resolution for 1997-2001 was divided into two phases, with Bills being presented in autumn 1995 and autumn 1996. The Government proposed that the following be disbanded: Hälsinge Wing (F 15) in Söderhamn, and the Air Force Flying Training Wing (F 5) in Ljungbyhed.
The Air Force is the most combat-ready branch of the Swedish armed forces. They include 7,700 people (of which 1,900 are conscripts and 1,800 are reservists). Flight crews fly 100-150 hours per year. At the same time, the intensity of flights for young pilots is much higher (average annual flight time 180-200 hours) than for experienced pilots (120-130 hours). After a year and a half, they basically complete the course of combat training, and after checking the acquired skills by order of the commander-in-chief of the Swedish armed forces, they are defined as pilots ready to perform combat missions in full.
The training of flight personnel for the aviation of the Swedish Armed Forces is carried out within the framework of the "Officer-2000" program. The entire training period of a pilot, taking into account compulsory military service before the assignment of a primary officer rank to junior lieutenant, is 48-52 months, depending on the duration of compulsory military service (12-16 months).
On the territory of Sweden there are at least 147 airfields with paved runways, most of which can be used for basing combat aviation. Three of them have runways (runways) over 3,000 m long, 12 - from 2,500 to 3,000 m, 80 - from 1,500 to 2,500 m, 27 - from 900 to 1,500 m and 25 - up to 900 meters. Subdivisions of the Swedish Air Force are based at six air bases: Östersund, Luleå, Uppsala, Malmen, Ronneby, Sothenes. If necessary, the aircraft of the national air force can perform flight missions using the largest airports of the country as operational airfields, where the necessary stocks of materiel have been created and equipment for their full operation, as well as specially equipped sections of highways, are available.
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