Sweden is looking to restock its supply of air defence capability with an order for hundreds of Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) from US defence prime RTX, recently rebranded from Raytheon, in a deal worth in excess of $600m (Skr6.5bn).
In a 7 July release from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notifying of the possible FMS, it was stated that Sweden was seeking to procure 250 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM missiles and up to six AMRAAM C-8 guidance sections.
Also included in the FMS are spare AIM-120 control sections and containers; AMRAAM test set telemetry kits; and encryption devices, amongst other support. The AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles are currently equipped on the Swedish Air Force’s JAS-39 Gripen C/D/E fighters.
The DSCA said the proposed sale would improve Sweden’s capability to meet and deter current and future threats in the region and advance the “already high level” of Swedish Air Force interoperability with US joint forces and other regional and NATO forces.
The spend comes as a recent GlobalData forecast into the global missiles and missile defence market projects substantial growth in the coming decade, reaching a value of $67.5bn by 2033.
Sweden’s defence budget has reached $8.7bn in 2023, about 1.4% of its GDP, up from 1.2% in 2022, and equating to a yearly increase of 17.3%, according to GlobalData.
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Sweden’s JAS 39 Gripen
The Gripen aircraft is Sweden’s frontline fighter platform developed by Saab, and is the latest in a growing line of Swedish military combat aircraft, following on from the legacy Draken and Viggen platforms.
Unlike most European countries, Sweden has maintained its own national defence aerospace industry through Saab and other suppliers, eschewing the practice of acquiring US fighters such as the fourth generation F-16 fighters or fifth generation F-35s.
The latest iteration of the Gripen, the E variant, is being developed for use by Sweden and Brazil, its sole export customer of the type of date. However, Thailand, South Africa, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, in addition to Sweden itself, operate the older C model.
Unit cost of the E model is around $85m, and comes with a new engine, AESA radar, IR search and track, and other upgrades to maintain its competitiveness in an air domain increasingly populated by fifth generation platforms.