Sweden's surface-to-air Hawk missiles (Robotsystem 97) were first developed by Raytheon in the US at the end of the 1950s. The system has since been upgraded many times, but now needs replacing.
“Even though you can modify and improve old systems, there is a limit to how old they can get. In that sense we can agree that the Hawk is getting old,” Carl Sjöstrand, head of communications at the Halmstad Air Defence Regiment told TT newswire.
The types of airborne threats have changed dramatically in recent years. From previously having focused on taking down planes or helicopters, today's anti-aircraft systems need the capacity to take on different threats, mainly varies types of missiles.
“For instance there are ballistic missiles, such as those Iskander missiles that have been placed in Kaliningrad, thus posing a potential threat to Gotland and the Swedish capital. In those cases, a better system is required than the Hawk, which does not have capacity against those missiles,” Sjöstrand said.
The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets Materielverk, FMV) is in charge of purchasing a new system, and is mainly eyeing up the Patriot system from US-based Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, or the French-Italian SAMP/T from Eurosam.
“Our aim is to have the first missiles in place in 2020, and then build on that for approximately ten more years,” said Joakim Lewin, Army Programmes Manager at FMV.