HELSINKI - Sweden's capital investments in defense will prioritize weapon procurement and infrastructure improvements to strengthen the military's air and naval capability in the High North, said Defense Ministe.
The strategy is to develop a military with a modular structure and a high degree of readiness that can react to threats against the country, the High North region, and can participate in international peacekeeping missions, Tolgfors(DEFENCE MINISTER) said.
"Our direction in defense has a definite neighborhood perspective, and this impacts on our Air Force and naval capabilities, and their primary tasks are neighborhood-based," he said.
Sweden intends to maintain 100 Gripen C/D combat and reconnaissance aircraft, a capability that is at least twice as large as its Nordic neighbors Finland, Norway and Denmark, the defense minister said.
Investments also are planned to strengthen Sweden's conventional submarine fleet in 2011-2014 to ensure security in the High North, Tolgfors said, especially because neighboring Denmark and Finland do not have a submarine capability.
Sweden's capital spending in 2011 will focus on five main programs: submarine modernization, tactical helicopters, the Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV), Archer artillery and the Gripen-NG projects. These carry a total cost of just under $8 billion.
"Fighter aircraft and submarines are vital elements in the defense of Sweden. We do not have hundreds of miles of land borders that we need to fear for. We do have hundreds of miles of coastline to protect," Tolgfors said.
The Navy's submarine fleet modernization program carries an estimated cost of $1.6 billion. The Navy will replace part of its existing sub fleet with next-generation submarines. There will also be a midlife upgrade for two Gotland-class submarines.
The Archer artillery program, which is being run jointly with Norway, and the Army's AMV project, will cost about $338 million. The Army will also place an order in 2011 for a new tactical helicopter type, while the Navy is acquiring a new signals ship.
The Gripen-NG program will include acquisition and installation of the Meteor active radar-guided, beyond-visual-range, air-to-air missile system