Source: Sweden continues to strengthen with investment in aerospace industry by Harry McNeil
STOCKHOLM—Sweden has revealed plans to strengthen its 'total defense' and establish a new agency tasked with reviewing and evaluating defense activities to avoid wasteful spending or poor planning. The total defense strategy is defined in Swedish law as "planning and measures required to prepare the country for total war" and informs almost every aspect of defense planning.
The plan includes more orders for the Gripen E, the latest variation of the Swedish-made fighter jet. The Swedish Air Force has ordered 70 so far, with 63 expected to be delivered by 2033. Brazil, already a customer for earlier models, has also ordered 36. The Swedish contract signed in 2014 was amended in December 2021 when the Försvarets Materielverk, the Swedish defense procurement agency, awarded a new order for additional Gripen equipment from Saab worth $153 million. The first E model was delivered to the Swedish air force in November 2021. The jet is intended to serve into the late 2030s.
Saab's supply chain for Gripen is multinational, with up to 35 percent of components manufactured in the UK alone, making it an attractive prospect for subcontracting. GlobalData's "Swedish defense market 2023-2028" report outlines how it is an attractive prospect for collaborative programs, as its domestic industries regularly partner with foreign companies regarding effective development programs. One prominent recent example is the Boeing-Saab T-7 Red Hawk trainer aircraft, which will equip the US Air Force's training squadrons from 2024 in a contract worth $1.3 billion.
Swedish technical expertise in manufacturing a broad range of platform types, from submarines to small arms, makes its companies an attractive partner for foreign defense firms. Between 2023 and 2028, sales of military fixed-wing aircraft are forecasted to be the largest sector in the Swedish defense market, with a cumulative value of $4.5 billion over the forecast period.
Three segments within this sector will see investment from the Swedish government: combat aircraft, ISR aircraft, and training and light attack aircraft. Combat aircraft, in particular, account for 41 percent of the total market value, thanks to the acquisition of the Jas 39E Gripen aircraft. As the Swedish Armed Forces prioritize total defense, the country's defense industry is set to benefit from multibillion-dollar investments over the next several years, making it a lucrative market for domestic and foreign companies.