Earlier this week, the Swedish government said negotiations with Raytheon will target delivery beginning in 2020, with operational readiness by 2025 at the latest, saying in a statement: “Based on this tender and the decision of the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament) on the proposal to acquire a new medium-range air defence system in the 2018 budget bill, the government will make a final decision on the acquisition during 2018.”
The choice is in line with 2015 strategy to avoid “the degradation” of regional security, and boost the country’s armed forces operational capacity after years of austerity, the Swedish defence ministry (MoD) said in a statement. No details of the deal were given by the MoD, but the body in charge of military acquisitions has valued the contract at SEK10 billion (€1 billion, U$1.3 billion).
The deal is also in line with an accord signed by Stockholm and Washington last year to boost bilateral military cooperation. Washington and top US political figures have been demanding that the allies share more of the defence burden since NATO was set up in 1949 to hold back the Soviet Union. The Swedish decision to choose the PATRIOT system, means Franco-Italian rival Eurosam’s SAMP/T missile system misses out.
The Swedish announcement came just hours after NATO said it is set to create two new command centers, including one protecting Atlantic shipping lanes, as it revamps its structures to better counter the threat posed by Russia. The long-range PATRIOT system will replace the HAWK missile system employed in Sweden.
Raytheon has built more than 220 PATRIOT fire units and delivered them to customers in 13 nations. This coming purchase marks another victory for Raytheon in terms of European sales of the system. Romania recently announced it would also buy the system, and the US cleared the sale. The Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV) has been authorised to send a Letter of Request to the US, and to enter into negotiations for procurement of the PATRIOT system.