Former Supreme Commander Bengt Gustafsson, along with a number of senior officers, ambassadors and military experts, says that Sweden should join NATO in order to dispel doubt about military support. Bilateral cooperation agreements do not provide the same protection as membership of the organisation. There is no guarantee that NATO will give priority to a country that is trying to gain free passage, they warn.
The Swedish Armed Forces’ main argument for the purchase of Patriot is that the air defence system protects Sweden against ballistic missiles.
However this week the New York Times published an article in which the Patriot’s capacity against ballistic missiles was put in doubt. On 4 November Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a Burqan 2 missile towards the capital of Saudi Arabia. As it flew towards Riyadh it was met by four Patriot missiles. Debris was strewn across the centre of the city and the official version is that the debris proves the missile was shot down.
However missile experts who have analysed pictures and film say the missile detonated close to the terminal building at Riyadh’s airport.
Only three days after the attack, Sweden’s government decided to choose the Patriot system and instructed the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to begin negotiations with the US.
Dagens Industri (DI) reports that its sources have said the Armed Forces can afford to buy 60-70 missiles for the Patriot system, and only a few of the advanced PAC-3 MSE, which cost SEK 50 million each. Last week DI reported that France and Eurosam quoted EUR 850 million for a package with SAMP/T, which covers Sweden’s entire air defence needs.
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