Swedish Military Prepares for War, Wants Kamikaze Drones & Rocket Artillery
In the wake of Sweden's NATO bid, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Army, General Micael Bydén, admitted that his country - which has supplied Kiev with arms in blatant neglect of its principle not to send weapons to warring nations - was an “actor” in the Ukrainian conflict and ventured that it must act accordingly, though he refused to elaborate.
The Swedish Armed Forces have unveiled a new plan for the years ahead with the underlying message that the Scandinavian country must prepare for war.
“We are not ruling anything out at the moment,” General Micael Bydén, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Army, said in his presentation, as quoted by the Swedish media. He called the present situation “very serious” and said the military cannot rule out “even more serious developments”. “It is the task of the total defense to prepare for what is the highest level of preparedness and armed attack. By definition, you can use the word war,” he added.
Bydén admitted that Sweden - which, in violation of its principle not to send weapons to nations at war has been supplying Kiev with an increasing amount of arms, and training Ukrainian soldiers - was an “actor” in the Ukrainian conflict, “at least in Russia’s eyes”, and ventured that it must act accordingly, although he refrained from giving any detail.
However, the plan provided an insight into the Swedish command’s wish-list regarding materiel. Among other things, the Armed Forces want to acquire kamikaze drones, which they referred to as “single-use unmanned aerial vehicles with warhead”.
“It is an asset that has proved itself to be effective. And as for unmanned in general, it is a development track where we need to do more. It's called a patrol robot unit, it's an unmanned craft with some kind of kinetic effect. It is part of our plans,” Bydén told Swedish media.
Furthermore, until 2030, the military wants, among other things, 60 new Gripen E fighter jets, a battalion with rocket artillery, another (fifth) submarine, a new cyber-unit and field hospitals.
To augment the country’s defense capability, Bydén proposed increasing the number of immediately available units, providing all combat forces with new equipment, increasing the volume of conscription and bolstering the military organization as such. The general also called for necessary political adjustments until the turn of the year 2023/24 at the latest.
Lastly, Sweden’s membership in NATO, which has yet to be rubber-stamped by Turkey, would entail fundamental changes in the country’s defense and security policy. According to its military, Sweden will have to take a special regional responsibility and join the same operational area as fellow Nordic countries, led by the same management structure. This, in turn, would imply an integrated air and missile defense, interoperable command systems and development of host nation support.
To accomplish its tasks within NATO, the Swedish military proposed to strengthening air defense - among others things - through the acquisition of new sea-operational and ground-operational helicopters, gradually replacing the present load of transport aircraft and developing the nation’s ability to launch satellites. It is also proposed to strengthen the navy through increased surface combat capability and continued rotation of systems and ships. Ground forces will be supplied with long-range combat systems and more unmanned systems.
2 November 2022, 06:35 GMT
Sweden submitted its NATO membership application jointly with Finland in May, three months into Russia’s special operation in Ukraine, citing a changed security landscape and finally abandoning decades of non-alignment which had already been damaged by growing cooperation with NATO and the US. So far, 28 out of 30 NATO members have formally ratified the accession agreements, with Budapest officially supporting the bids and pledging to ratify them by mid-December. Today, both Sweden and Finland are in talks with Turkey to dispel Ankara’s concerns
over their alleged support of Kurdish organizations which Turkey labels as terrorist.
Russian officials earlier slammed Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids as “destabilizing”, and as something that will increase tensions in the region. Moscow has repeatedly warned that NATO membership would entail “serious military and political consequences”, obliging it to “restore military balance” by strengthening its own defenses in the Baltic Sea region. President Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia would respond in kind if NATO were to set up military infrastructure in Finland and Sweden after they joined the US-led alliance.