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Pirate hunters to lose helicopters
Tim Freccia/AP/Scanpix

Pirate hunters to lose helicopters

Published: 16 Jul 2010 17:49 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Jul 2010 17:49 GMT+02:00

The two Swedish military helicopters being used as part of the battle against Somalian pirates in the Gulf of Aden are to be returned to Sweden to be put on standby.

The helicopters are currently based on HMS Carlskrona, which is the headquarters ship for the EU’s anti-piracy forces in the region. The helicopters increase the range of the Swedish forces by 70 percent.

They are being brought back to Sweden to participate in the Nordic Battlegroup, an EU naval force composed of Nordic countries and Ireland. The force will be on standby from 1st January 2011, but could be sent anywhere in the world at short notice after that.

Military chiefs say the decision to remove the helicopters from Somalia is due to a lack of resources, but Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors has now questioned that decision:

“The government has said that ongoing missions should always be prioritized where there is a need. The military itself should decide the size of that need, not politicians. For the second half of this mission, the military has not rated the need for helicopters as higher than for the Nordic Battle Group. But I have noted that [the commanders of the mission] have been clear that the helicopters would be useful in Somalia. It is therefore reasonable for the military to reconsider.”

Karl Sörenson at the Swedish Defence Research Agency said it was “strange that they prioritise planning and training for a standby group that will maybe never be used over an ongoing live operation.”

When asked why the armed forces were prioritizing a planned exercise over an ongoing operation, Lieutenant General Anders Lindström, head of Sweden’s military operations, said:

“Parliament has decided that we should have a battle group on standby. The helicopter element is a significant part of supporting this force. It would have of course been better if we had more helicopters. But we are now using the resources we have in a well considered way.”

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

00:33 July 17, 2010 by hilt_m
am I to understand that sweden has only 2 helicopters? what BS is this, taking them from carlskrona to be on standby?
09:30 July 17, 2010 by norcalNisse
I think this means they have only two helicopters that are currently allocated to fight Somalian pirates.... no doubt they've got swarms of helicopters elsewhere, right?

Doesn't make much sense to me. Why doesn't the military just take two of its helicopters that are already sitting on standby at one of their bases to go be on standy instead for the Nordic Battlegroup, rather than pull these two very useful choppers from the Gulf of Aden?
09:46 July 17, 2010 by Marc the Texan
Truly pathetic. You've got an expensive ship on station and effectively neuter it for lack of a couple of comparatively cheap helicopters. Might as well pack the ship up and head home entirely.
11:29 July 17, 2010 by jnoras
I cant stop laughing...Only 2 helicopters!!! and that became a news headline. Such a dull-witted news. Come on swedes you and your journalists have to grow up. My country's economic ranking is far below sweden but im sure we have more helicopters engaged in UN peace keeping mission.
11:46 July 17, 2010 by Raiha
Just wondering why parliament needs a battle group on standby. Planning to go to war?
22:17 July 17, 2010 by Nilspet
Borrow a few from Russia then! They have thousands of them !
09:03 July 18, 2010 by wenddiver
Dareline North Atlantic- 0800 Hours- Royal Navy Destoyer-Escorts of Great Britain's Northern Command fell back on US Task Force "Ripper" after taking heavy Casulties, while inflicting heavy losses. The NATO Commander North Atlantic,Admiral Bucky Johnson ordered repeated Anti-shipping strikes against the Russian Fleet in the area of the Denmark Straights. Admiral Johnson said "it was a close run thing, we lost a lot of F-18s and F-22s in that Fleet action, but luckily there were two helecopters of the Swedish Navy on hand. Without them and the considerable contribution of the Republic of Ireland's Navy, coulpled with the excellent advice sent by the French government (along with their refusal to assists the West's Forces) we recieved by giving the enemy a month to prepare unmoleted whil we consulted with France, we couldn't have saved Europe's Freedom. Obviously those helecopters were necessary in the Nordic Battle Group, Thank God they weren't off somewhere chasing Muslim Pirates."
12:39 July 18, 2010 by Marc the Texan
Nice one wenddiver.
04:02 July 19, 2010 by wenddiver
@Marc the Texan- Thanks I thought it summed up the frustration of the US and Great Britain in trying to defend Euro Democracy, which is is a lot like trying to tell your cat how to do surgery by phone.
18:09 August 3, 2010 by Michael Whitfield
You have to understand, this is the age of sensitivity and political correctness. Sweden may have temporarily deployed two helicopters in the Gulf of Aden to fight Somalian piracy, but the pirates have no helicopters. So they were withdrawn because we have to be fair when fighting criminal activity on the high seas.
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