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Swedish fighter jets to join Nato response force

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14:39 CET+01:00
Sweden will contribute a squadron of Jas Gripen fighter jets as well as a mine-sweeping ship to join the Nato Rapid Reaction Force (NRF), the government decided on Thursday.
The Swedish fighter squadron, ship, and roughly 120 service personnel will join the Nato force in 2014. By 2015, Sweden will contribute an additional eight Gripen fighters and an amphibious unit.
 
Last month, Nato agreed to let Sweden to join the Steadfast Jazz training exercise, allowing Swedish soldiers to train with the NRF, a multinational force of up to 25,000 troops that can act as a stand-alone force available for rapid deployment. The Swedish contribution could eventually participate in Nato missions, although Sweden would decide which missions its forces would join.
 
The initial contribution of eight planes and the minesweeper will be a part of the NRF's reserve forces.
 
"This means that they will be available for deployment as part of the NRF reserve force during this period. They will be in Sweden, but they will be ready for duty," Sweden's Defence Minister Karin Enström told the TT news agency.
 
"These are units that have been certified by Nato as being sufficiently well-trained to participate."
 

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Parts of the NRF have been deployed in the past to help with security surrounding the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 2004 and during presidential elections in Afghanistan that same year. Finland has been a part of the NRF reserve force since 2008. Sweden declined to join at the time as there was insufficient support in parliament for Swedish participation in the Nato force.
 
This week, Sweden also participated in a major Nato cyber defence exercise dubbed Cyber Coalition 2013, to test Nato's ability to defend itself against a cyber attack. In addition to the 28 Nato member countries, non-Nato members Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, and Austria participated in the exercise.

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