In its defence bill, the government is positive to the idea that a new organisation to provide training on JAS Gripen fighter jets could “include new export obligations,” i.e. new deals with other countries. In reality, however, the Swedish Air Force is already stretched.
A recurring problem for the Air Force is one of maintenance. A key concept in this context is that of “accessibility,” i.e. there always needs to be a certain number of JAS Gripen fighters operational.
Major General Micael Bydén, who took over as Air Force Commander nine months ago, tells Svenska Dagbladet: “It’s no secret that we have for a while faced challenges, to put it mildly. Equally, we are keen to deal with the accessibility challenges …”. However, as a result of these challenges, the Air Force has had to put future training requirements on the back burner.
Meanwhile, in related news, as a result of the defence agreement struck between the government and three of the alliance parties, the defence budget will receive a boost of SKr 10.2 billion in the coming five years. However, fresh calculations from FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency, indicate that Swedish military expenditure, as a share of GDP, will in fact fall from the current level of 1.5% to under 1.1% in the next five years.