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Sweden accelerates integration into NATO camp

Since becoming the 32nd member of NATO on March 7, Sweden has made continuous efforts in the defense field. It has continued to strengthen its military presence in the Baltic Sea region and accelerated the construction of weapons and equipment to speed up its integration into the NATO field.

Swedish CB90 fast assault boat performs maritime missions.

Specifically, as part of NATO's recently concluded "Staunch Defender 2024" large-scale military exercises, Sweden activated 17 military bases and deployed fighter jets, frigates, fast assault boats, submarines and other equipment to the Baltic Sea region to participate in sea blockade and waterborne attacks and other en route exercises.

At the end of the exercise, the Swedish Navy said Sweden will always deploy two CB90 fast assault boats and a submarine cruising in the Baltic Sea to strengthen NATO's service force in the region.

In addition to deploying large-scale troops to participate in NATO military exercises, Sweden has continued to strengthen its military deployment in the Baltic region.

Recently, Sweden has deployed artillery and land-based missile units to Gotland Island and organized special forces on the island for spy and air infiltration training to strengthen the frontal deterrent. Sweden has announced that Gotland Island will become a new NATO military base in northern Europe.

The Swedish Ministry of Defense is also in discussions with Finland about Gotland Island and three other locations to form an anti-submarine submarine network, and at the same time with the three Baltic states agreed to establish a joint listening station on the island.

Sweden also plans to send an 800-strong land combat unit under NATO to Latvia and complete its deployment by the end of this year.

The Swedish Air Force conducts rapid response training such as taking off and landing the fighter on an 800 meter road and refueling in a hot zone.

The Swedish Army sent "Leopard" 2 series tanks and other armored forces to conduct night assaults and other exercises on the Baltic Sea coast.

Gotland Island is located in the center of the Baltic Sea and has important military strategic significance. The island's firepower can cover the entire Baltic Sea and is the key to establishing control over the Baltic Sea. Sweden has become a member of NATO, turning the "Baltic Sea into NATO's inland sea" from a geopolitical perspective. Its strengthening of the island's military deployment is intended to integrate into the NATO camp as soon as possible and become a new strategic fulcrum for NATO.

In addition, Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson said that he is ready to accept the United States to deploy nuclear weapons on its territory and promised to allow NATO to use its facilities in wartime to carry out military operations.

Increase military spending

In the defense plan announced by Sweden for the next three years, the Ministry of Defense increased the percentage of the defense budget from the current 2% to 4% of GDP.

After military spending is doubled, it will be mainly used in the following areas.

  • Procurement and installation of equipment. Citing Europe's "empty arsenal", Sweden has allocated 48 billion SEK (about $4.6 billion) in the 2024 defense budget for the procurement of defense material to increase stocks of readiness materials to combat. The Army said it will invest additional reserve funds in the future based on the "war readiness situation."

  • Staff training and recruitment. The Ministry of Defense plans to invest SEK 987 million in combat personnel training to achieve "deployment of combat personnel in accordance with NATO member state standards" within three years. At the same time, the Swedish Ministry of Defense released a recruitment video, saying it "continues to implement a rigorous selection system" to build an elite armed force. Sweden currently has around 66,000 soldiers, including 12,000 reservists and 20,000 militiamen. The Ministry of Defense plans to increase the total number of active troops to more than 100,000 by 2030.

  • Updates on weapons development. The Ministry of Defense said it will implement NATO requirements and spend 20% of its annual military spending on weapons and equipment upgrades. At the same time, the Swedish government plans to provide additional funding of SEK 432 million to the Defense Research Agency for defense research within three years. It will invest SEK 44 million annually in the NATO Innovation Fund for the "North Atlantic Defense Innovation Accelerator" project.

The Swedish Ministry of Defense also said it would increase investment in building foreign military intelligence capabilities.

Accelerate the development of the military industry

In addition to strengthening cooperation with NATO allies, Sweden seeks to develop its military industry, expanding the military commercial market outside of Europe.

Strengthen cooperation to introduce technology. Sweden and France have signed a strategic agreement, focusing on cooperation in the supply of the French anti-tank missile system "Akeron" to the Swedish and French armed forces. The two countries also said they will strengthen cooperation in the field of air defense. The Swedish Saab Group has selected the British Babcock Group to jointly build a new Lulea-class frigate for the Swedish Navy.

Expand the international arms trading market. Sweden has a relatively complete military industrial system and can independently produce major battle equipment required by the army, navy and air force. The government also continues to seek defense cooperation and expand the international military trade market. As well as selling frigates to Finland and Italy and promoting new destroyer designs in Australia, it has also reached a deal with the Philippines on the export of Gripen fighter jets, opening up the Asia-Pacific military commercial market. Furthermore, Commander-in-Chief of the Swedish Armed Forces Budden recently stated that he will provide more than $7 billion in military assistance, including early warning aircraft and fighter jets, to Eastern European allies within three years.

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