The Swedish Air Force today conducted a combined air exercise with parts of the US Air Force, an exercise that had been planned for a long time, in which all air force units with fighter aircraft as well as the Air Combat Training School participated.
Swedish fighter aircraft– Jas 39 Gripen – escorted US B-1B Lancer bombers in Swedish air territory. Air-to-air refuelling was conducted from US KC-135 aircraft in order to enhance the endurance of Swedish aircraft in the air. The sortie was conducted by the Swedish air combat command.
“The principal task of the Swedish Air Force is to provide strong air defence, to control Swedish air territory. By doing so, the Swedish Air Force facilitates ground target operations, also simulated in this exercise,” says Air Force Commander Major-General Carl-Johan Edström.
The situation in the surrounding world is becoming increasingly unpredictable and volatile. If a conflict were to arise in the Baltic Sea region, Sweden would inevitably become involved.
In the solidarity statement, Sweden has clearly stated that we will not remain passive, should an attack be launched upon us, our partners or other nations bordering the Baltic Sea. Military cooperation is vital for ensuring long-term security and stability in our region.
The Swedish Armed Forces’ participation in international exercises, in and outside Sweden, is in line with Swedish defence policy and aims at increasing interoperability and exercise activities in the Baltic Sea region.
“This has been a good exercise, in which we have demonstrated interoperability and our role as a reliable and relevant partner. The transatlantic link and combined exercises with US air units increase our capability. Our task, single-handedly as well as with others, is to create security and stability in the Baltic Sea region,” he says.
The US and Finland are Sweden’s most important cooperation partners. This exercise enhances Swedish defence capability while simultaneously developing cooperation with the US, which is crucial, should Sweden become the target of an armed attack.
The Swedish Armed Forces’ cooperation with the US originates in the statement of intent, agreed upon by Sweden and the US in 2016.
The main purpose of the exercise was to develop methods and procedures for tactical escorting of bombers and close-support aircraft and to conduct air-to-air refuelling, Major-General Carl-Johan Edström concludes.