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Sweden’s defence 'not fit for battle': expert

Published: 30 Apr 2012 11:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Apr 2012 11:59 GMT+02:00

“The Swedish armed forces could not be deployed if the situation would require it,” said defence analyst Johan Tunberger, formerly of Sweden's Defence Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut, FOI) to daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

The government, prioritizing a “balanced economy” thinks that the armed forces should be reformed without a new cash injection; something Tunberger says is a recipe for disaster.

When the new minister for defence Karin Enström was appointed in mid-April, prime minister Reinfeldt said that one of the more fundamental tasks the new minister would face is to keep the armed forces’ finances in order.

However, this may be a tall order, as SvD showed that the need for a balanced economy in the military has meant that planned material investments have been postponed.

The military budget for 2012 amounts to 8.9 billion kronor ($1.3 billion), according to SvD. But the 27 material investments requirements that the military will file over 2012 will amount to 9 billion kronor, and so eat up all the allocated funds.

And according to SvD, this is not even counting orders that have already been despatched, not to mention the Gripen fighter jet project.

Without these investments, Sweden is at risk, according to Tunberger.

If Sweden would find itself in battle and suffer great personal injuries to the personnel, it is “utterly demoralizing” not being able to treat them or transport them to safety, he told the paper.

And that the Navy’s corvettes and the Army in general are lacking anti-aircraft missiles could have devastating effects, according to Tunberger.

“The Navy is already depleted and weakened. The ships haven’t got enough arms and are not a credible force if they needed to into battle. That we have 100 modern JAS fighter jets don’t matter if the lack of anti-aircraft defences in the army means we can’t protect our bases and the air force is defeated while on the ground," Tunberger told SvD.

The problem, Tunberger told the paper, is that there are systems that are functioning as they should but that they have no chance to work together.

”The armed forces can’t perform large scale operations and the overall result is that the Swedish defence won’t be able to be deployed if necessary,” Tunberger told the paper.

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Your comments about this article

16:05 April 30, 2012 by entry
What country would attack Sweden?

Sweden does need a military but let us be realistic. This is not the WWII era. The Finns heroics in the winter war is not something I see them replicating nor us mimicking. If for some reason Russia wanted to roll over Sweden tomorrow there really isn't anything Sweden would be able to do about it. I really do not see a situation for all out war here in Scandinavia on the long range forecast.
19:41 April 30, 2012 by mibrooks27
Don't worry about that. The US will protect you, maybe even tie you a couple billion dollars in exchange for being allowed to use drones to assassinate terrorists ...and more than a few bystanders, children, wives, police officers, etc.
20:21 April 30, 2012 by Uncle
mibrooks27

"The US will protect you, maybe even tie you a couple billion dollars in exchange for being allowed to use drones to assassinate terrorists ...and more than a few bystanders, children, wives, police officers, etc."

I am sure that such amount of sarcasm would not be funny for citizens of South Korea, Kuwait and Kosovo, which behinds were saved by the evildoer US and A. Also the Lybian "revolutionaries" did not mind that some american drones hit some tanks that shot on crowds.

Sweden either needs a military or not. Not something in between, that would be sucking funds, but still be ineffective.

I tend to believe that appointing a woman naval captain, who never in her life even dreamed of being able to coordinate armored divisions with NAVY and airforce, while thousands infantry are dying in a theoretical battle, where hospitals are needed, was an error that came out polit-correctness and not a real ability.

But the above is a bull, since if radiation and bio equipment are needed, there is no point of further warfare. We all need shovels then.

The ONLY thing Sweden needs of a conventional warfare, is special forces to assist NATO, guerilla trained infantry (of which a lot combat engineers and alpine infantry), effective anti-arcraft and anti-armor forces and fast and deadly NAVY that can do hit and run with long range surface to surface missiles and hunt submarines.

This force will make any invasion of Russians, or whoever else, simply disappear in the Swedish forests, swamps and northern mountains. Otherwise close the business and invest the funds in other stuff.

As for Gripen, it is supposedly paying for itself from sales to others.
20:26 April 30, 2012 by Kublai
There is not so much an outer threat Sweden needs to worry about, more a threat from within. As far as I know the following terroristorganisations have either official (paid for by swedish tax money) offices or leadership structures or operators and followers - Al Aqsa Martyrs, Hamas, Hezbollah, Tulo, Hezb-ut-Tharir, Jaamat Islamyia, Al Qaida, Al Shabaab, Islamic Jihad, Talibans and probably several others. I know that the swedish government end especially media thinks the best of them but I still fear that those people are the biggest threat to Sweden and Europe.
09:28 May 1, 2012 by Marc the Texan
Sweden needs to be willing to put more into it's military otherwise get out of the way. Sweden insisted in being involved in the action in Libya for the sake of keeping up appearances. The problem is that Sweden was actually a hindrance to other coalition members. Same situation in Afghanistan. Just pack it in if you're not really committed. At least it would be an honest position. Sweden is a free rider with its military allies.
17:44 May 1, 2012 by isenhand
lack of protection against radiation, chemical and biological warfare - Interesting to pick that as Sweden has a good CBRN facility in Umeå + new CBRN platoons in Hv.

That fact that the Swedish army does not form an effective defence we have known for some time now, so nothing new here. It has so many things wrong I would find it hard to know where to start. Certainly, lack of air defence would come towards the top but we also have an overly heavy reliance on light infantry and insufficient support units. The army also needs more combat orientated training (this includes Hv) - see the current Försvarsutbildning catalogue; no combat training but they still train artists! I could go on ...

Basically the current government has made a mess of the defence of this country. Lack of finances certain forms part of that but the whole thinking and way the government has done things has gone wrong!

I think Sweden has too much of we wont ever go to war mentality that leads to the problems with the defence but as Sun Tzu says :

The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

But I don't think the government has ever heard of Sun Tzu!!
01:25 May 2, 2012 by SecondGen
Seems to me a Swedish sub was leased to the USA for a year or more and in various tests managed to sink super-carriers multiple times.

So, if they can hide in the sea and not be found, and the JAS can control the air, then they just need to worry about overland routes and the bridge.

Norway, Finland, Denmark probably aren't massing forces on the border. They probably don't have a whole lot to fear in the long run but someone wants to make a case to spend a whole lotta money.
08:53 May 2, 2012 by isenhand
Norway, Finland, Denmark probably aren't massing forces on the border. - not forgetting that Sweden has a commitment to aid in the defence of those countries and we have seen an increase in the Russian military in the Western military district and the new Russian Arctic brigades. Sweden also has a commitment to defend the EU as a whole as well. So, we should look to the boarders of Sweden but to the boarders of the EU and Norway.
09:23 May 2, 2012 by robban70226
Sweden does not need a military but let us be realistic, maybe they can be used better as polis?? much needed there
10:42 May 2, 2012 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
Never understood Swedens objection to a professional armed forces akin to the UK or USA. An article in DN last year showed that for every infantryman there were 3-4 officers doing deskjobs..hardly an efficient way to run an army. As a Swedish officer in a military career...what exactly is the best you can do ...maybe be a blue-beret in some third world country, no I think its time for them to radically rethink .....after all Sweden is no longer of any strategic importance & has no natural resources that the USA needs, during the cold war Sweden was never invaded by the Soviets...NOT because Sweden was neutral..but because the SOVIETS were NEVER interested !!!!! Sweden is a backwater.....& thats OK ...right ?
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