The Swedish police will start using the country’s military medium-lift helicopters for SWAT insertion. The additional task for the Armed Forces Helicopter Command (Försvarsmaktens Helikopterflottiljen) comes directly from the national government in Stockholm.
The decision was made after evaluation of the country’s anti-terror readiness and implements lessons learned from the terror attacks/mass murder in neighbouring Norway on July 22nd, 2011. As a sort of kick-off the ministers of Justice and Defence together visited the Helikopterflottiljen at Linköping the past week.
From January 2014 the Armed Forces Hkp 15 (NHI NH90) and Hkp 16 (Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk) will be available at request of the police authorities. Yet unclear, but likely is that the helicopter force will be spread out across the country somewhat.
For an effective co-operation between the military helicopter crew and civilian police it is possible that one or two NH90s or Black Hawks will be based at the airports of Stockholm-Arlanda, Göteborg-Säve, Malmö-Sturup and Östersund. They will then join the police’s own Eurocopter EC135s at these locations. In the far north of the country the military helicopters might stay at the airbase section of Luleå-Kallax, with the police EC135 unit at nearby Boden. Stockholm-Bromma is considered a good alternative base in the capital area.
The Swedish police currently is being reorganised, but with only 5 EC135s at their disposal the air support is very much limited. There is already some co-operation between the Swedish military and civilian police, but since the end of the Cold War that has been very limited.
Swedish defence minister Karin Enström, however, did highlight recent events when visiting the Helicopter Command at F3 Malmslätt in Linköping. ,,When US president Obama visited Sweden recently, two Black Hawks were available 24/7 at Bromma airport in Stockholm. The improved involvement will give more clearness to both police and the Armed Forces.”
Armed response to anything happening in the Swedish society is first of all a task for the country’s police, writes a press spokesperson of the Helikopterflottiljen. ,,The military helicopter’s role will be to transport police officers with their equipment and see to it that they will be inserted as close to the response area or an object as possible. The increased support will mean police and military will have to create common routines and joint training possibilities during daytime, later to be extended during nighttime.”
Norway uses military Bell 412s out of Rygge to support the police of the capital of Oslo and it is this co-operation that the Swedish government sees as a good example for the Swedish anti-terror readiness.
© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger