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Delays plague Nordic Battlegroup

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Delays plague Nordic Battlegroup
10:25 CET+01:00
A variety of setbacks will keep the Swedish-led force of 2,800 soldiers from being fully prepared for deployment by its scheduled January 1st, 2008 launch date.

The Nordic Battlegroup (NBG) was supposed to have the capability for mobilization and deployment to conflict areas within ten days for the first six months of 2008.

But despite six months of preparations, the group has suffered from both manpower and equipment shortages.

Medical and communications equipment, gear for soldiers, as well as vehicles have not been delivered on time.

Three custom-built medical transport helicopters won't be able for use before April. In addition, state-of-the-art RG32M “Galten” all-terrain vehicles will be used to a much lesser degree than originally planned, leaving the NBG to rely instead on much older vehicles.

“There's quite a bit missing. We can operate with what we have now, but not in the same way that we could if we had all of our equipment,” said squad leader Rickard Lundin to Dagens Nyheter.

Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors regrets the group still lacks certain equipment.

“In general, the perception is that things have gone well. But there have been areas that have problems, some of which remain today. I think the delay in the medical transport helicopters is a problem,” said Tolgfors.

The NBG suffered another serious setback about a month ago when a soldier was killed during a training exercise in Skövde.

Following their Christmas holiday, the group expects to continue training—and waiting to learn about their first assignment.

Original plans called for the NBG to be sent to Chad or Sudan, but neither location currently appears more likely than the other.

“I really hope we get to go, otherwise many in the group will be disappointed. Several have talked about wanting to do something different and I really hope we get a chance to do that,” said Lundin.

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