Take the chance to build a high-tech defense

Charlie Taylor

The world situation and the new level of Swedish ambition must lead to a new direction of defense. It is not possible to just continue in the footsteps of the old defense decisions. The new defense planning must maintain a high technical level.Updated: 10 March 2022, 11:26Published: 10 March 2022, 10:59A handful of weapon systems in Ukraine seem to have put more fear into the Russian armed forces than others: an American anti-tank robot named Javelin, the Swedish-British equivalent NLAW, the anti-aircraft robot Stinger and the Turkish drone Bayraktar. The first three can be carried by one person, the training takes a hour and they handle the goal search on their own. No armored vehicle in the world survives a hit with Javelin and if soldiers on the ground have Stinger, it is dangerous to fly. Ukrainian soldiers have therefore so far almost escaped being shot down by Russian helicopters. The Turkish drone is difficult to shoot down and inflicts constant and surprising losses on the Russian forces.Alongside the strong Ukrainian combat morale, the weapon technology is the most striking in the war so far. Without these weapons systems, Russia would have been able to move more freely and defeat Ukraine more quickly. Now social media is filled with pictures of shot Russian tanks and jubilant Ukrainian soldiers. They have even created a tribute song to Bayraktar. This does not mean that war is just a material sport, the popular support is important. But without good weapons technology, you have no chance and there is nothing more dangerous to combat morale than bad equipment.Sweden sold out on Thursday to the vast majority of European countries, which are now rapidly rising to two percent of GDP in defense funding. That is a welcome message. Today, Sweden is on the way to 1.5 percent, which is too stingy and below NATO’s minimum level. All countries around us are at 2 percent or are on their way there. Poland is moving towards 3 percent. The German dramatic decision last week to rapidly go from 1 to 2 percent is the biggest change. Germany will for the first time since the Second World War become a strong military power. The world situation and the new Swedish level of ambition must lead to a new direction of defense. It is not possible to just continue in the footsteps of the old defense decisions. Some of the new appropriations are needed to fill obvious gaps. Sweden needs more “ammunition”, an elastic concept that not only means cartridges for small arms but more Patriot missiles, more fighter robots for combat aircraft and more Stinger and anti-tank weapons for the army. Such is expensive. But the ambition must be greater. The coming years will be characterized by two clear principles.One is the defense will grow as if Sweden and Finland are NATO members. Finland is clearly on its way to NATO, a decision can be made within a few months. When the Swedish S has managed its careless locks, Sweden will join, which may be ready before the end of the year. At sea, a Finnish-Swedish NATO membership means a de facto joint navy with common ports, maintenance and division of labor. For the army, this means that the Swedish emerging brigades should be able to support the Finns in Finland, that they should practice in Finland and to and even placed there.The second principle is that the new defense planning should have a high technical level. Sweden is a high-tech society, fittingly enough with a world-class high-tech defense industry. The branches of defense should not be primitive backward islands as in the 1980s. Together with the rest of NATO, especially Germany, we will build a joint missile defense similar to the Israeli one for protection against the cruise missile rain that hit Ukraine. Sweden will be the strongest naval power underwater with eight submarines. We will have a hunting robot development that can always take the Russian planes, surveillance radar that can see the slightest echo in the Gulf of Finland, satellites that see everything Russia does and of course drone applications in the army and navy.At Thursday’s press conference The Minister of Defense and the Prime Minister spoke beautifully about the popular anchoring of the defense, about conscription and home defense. They are important institutions, not least to capture the current commitment. But the absolute most reliable popular anchor for the defense is the prospect of winning against the enemy and being able to strike far out at sea. Then high-class equipment is needed. Take the chance.PM Nilsson

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