Swedish Military Poised for Greatest Upgrade Since 1950s as NATO Bid Skids
A Swedish Navy fast-attack craft patrols in the the Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden (file)InternationalIndiaAfricaAccording to Defense Minister Pal Jonson, the overhaul will be mainly focused on future technologies such as autonomous drones and space capabilities, as well as improved cyber defenses while Sweden’s future as a NATO member remains increasingly uncertain after a recent string of high-profile scandals.The Swedish Armed Forces are getting set for a major upgrade in the form of more modern weapons and capabilities, which Defense Minister Pal Jonson described as the biggest rearmament since the start of the Cold War-era in the Fifties. According to the minister, this will strengthen Sweden’s military position and boost its ability to protect the country and its citizens.Jonson stressed that now is the time to invest in future technology and capabilities that are not yet available. Among other things, there will now be focus on new technologies such as autonomous drones, space capabilities and improved cyber defense.Furthermore, Jonson emphasized the importance of space capabilities in modern warfare and the improvements the armed forces hope to achieve with drones and longer-range artillery.
The military has already sent its proposals to the government, which will be reviewed by the defense committee before a decision is made.This coincides with a bump in military expenditure, pushing it up to Cold War levels. During the Sixties, Sweden’s military spending reached 4 percent of GDP, falling gradually after the truce between the West and the East and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, eventually dropping to 1 percent in 2017.At the start of January, Sweden’s Supreme Commander Micael Byden stressed that the Armed Forces in future will need more funding than at present. Among other things, Byden cited increased needs linked to Sweden’s NATO bid and future adaptation to the alliance, as well as procuring new gear.Turkey May Make Decision on Finnish NATO Membership That Will ‘Shock’ Sweden: Erdogan29 January, 18:07 GMTIn May 2022, Sweden filed a NATO bid jointly with Finland, bringing an end to 200 years of non-alignment. To show how greatly sentiment has changed, all but the Left Party and the Greens backed the country’s hopes to join the bloc, with archrivals such as the Social Democrats and the nationalist-conservative Sweden Democrats making spectacular U-turns from their historic position.However, Turkey has objected to the countries’ membership, accusing them of harboring Kurdish “terrorists”. Ankara refused to approve their accession until both nations meet its demands, including the extradition of a number of Kurds whom Turkey believes belong to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – a group Turkey has branded as a terrorist organization. For its part, Stockholm has stressed that Turkey is demanding concessions that it cannot give.However, recently Sweden’s already troubled NATO talks have been complicated further by a string of high-profile provocations, including one where an effigy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hanged in Stockholm, a cartoon contest held by a Swedish newspaper to mock the Turkish leader and, most notably, copies of the Quran being burned by Rasmus Paludan, a Danish/Swedish politician and leader of the fringe party Hard Line.