Swedish neutrality in the balance as they send arms and equipment to aid Ukraine
Following the news that Sweden has spent almost $150 million on military aid for Ukraine and draws closer to NATO membership, which has not been received well by Russia;
James Marques, Associate Aerospace, Defense and Security Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“The recent Russia-Ukraine conflict has dramatically altered the landscape of defense and security on the continent in ways that will have a massive impact on the industry. Sweden is amongst those countries whose political restraints on military activity have already been loosened – the nation will break with its doctrine of not sending arms to a war zone by supplying the Ukrainian military with 5,000 anti-tank weapons, ballistic protection and field rations.
“One of the key weapons systems that Sweden is supplying to Ukraine is the Bofors AT-4, a single-use anti-tank launcher, designed to be operated with minimal training and an ideal weapon for the fast-moving situation. Recent comments from Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson signal a clear break from Sweden’s historic position of neutrality.
Sweden’s defense market
“There are reports that Ukraine has specifically asked Sweden to send more SAAB NLAW Anti-tank systems, which have already been deployed against Russian armour and have proven to be popular, reliable and effective. GlobalData’s latest report on Sweden’s defense market found that SAAB had a 4% drop in sales in Q4 2021 but maintains strong cashflows and will likely be bolstered by increased defense spending in Europe, which now includes a significant increase in Germany’s annual defence spending to 2% of GDP.
“This initial supply of Swedish arms to Ukraine is unprecedented and along with Finland, the country is being offered elevated access to NATO’s intelligence community. Even though Sweden is unlikely to join NATO anytime soon the discussions around their possible membership have already provoked a threat of ‘serious military and political consequences’ from Russia. Historically Sweden has enjoyed strong sales in Asia and the Middle East however Russia’s remarks will only serve to draw Sweden and NATO closer, who will likely continue to purchase arms from the Swedish market.”