‘Neutral’ Swedish Gripens part of NATO Air Force

Nice motion blur on this Swedish Saab JAS 39A, seen in June 2006 at Satenäs in Sweden. The model A Gripen have now been replaced by C models. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Swedish JAS 39 Gripen taking off (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Sweden will contribute to the NATO Response Force, the country’s leadership decided. This will mean that as soon as the the Swedish government and the parliament agree, ‘neutral’ Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighters will be operating as part of NATO’s Air Wing.

The main part of the NATO Response Force (NRF) is a 13,000 men and women strong constellation of military units, which will be send in first if anything happens. Next come the reinforcements (Response Forces Pool) in which Sweden will take part during the coming years.

In 2014 Sweden will hold one JAS 39 fighter unit and a mine-clearing vessel available, in 2015 one JAS 39 fighter unit and a company of Swedish marines and in 2016 one JAS 39 fighter unit and a motorised infantry battalion. Exactly which units will be assigned will be decided the coming months.

Furthermore the Swedish armed forces will take part in the large military exercise Steadfast Jazz, that will be played in and near the Baltic Republics and Poland from November 2nd to November 9th.

The exercise will help Sweden to co-operate in for example interception of Russian aircraft over the Baltic Sea, of which the Swedish Air Force got loads of criticism lately for the lack of readiness.

Apart from hosting countries Estonia, Letland, Lithuania and Poland several NATO countries will contribute units to Steadfast Jazz, including the Belgian Air Component with additional F-16s supplementing the four currently deployed in Lithuania as NATO’s Baltic Air Police.

Source: Forsvarsmakten / Belgian Air Component

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