United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Defense Penny Mordaunt and Sweden’s Minister for Defense Peter Hultqvist met to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the development of future combat aircraft capabilities.
On July 18, Defense ministers from both Sweden and the UK met in London to sign a Memorandum of Understanding aiming at examining the possibilities for joint development and acquisition program of future combat aircraft capabilities and combat aircraft systems. This ten-year agreement is the starting point for both countries to analyse the conditions for deeper cooperation on the development of Future Combat Air Systems (FCAS). It includes the possibility to put advanced technologies onto the JAS 39 Gripen and the Typhoon — the fighter aircraft currently operated by Sweden and the UK respectively, before inserting these technologies onto a future combat air system.
Discussions between industries and governments had been ongoing since the publication of the UK’s Combat Air Strategy in July 2018, with common ground identified based on similar future Combat Air requirements, including being optimized for air defense. Sweden’s Minister for Defense Peter Hultqvist highlighted the strong industrial base shared by both countries as central to securing future Combat Air power. During the meeting the British industry was represented by BAE Systems, whilst the Swedish industry was represented by Saab. “International co-operation is part of Saab’s strategy for growth and the collaboration with the British industries represents that way of working also with regard to the future”, comments Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO of Saab. The Swedish manufacturer reminds it is currently developing the next generation fighter Gripen E/F, and it is “committed to do so in close partnership with its strategic partners, the Swedish and Brazilian Air Forces, as well as with other existing and new Gripen customers, to ensure that Gripen evolves to meet emerging operational requirements for decades to come.”
For its part, British Minister of Defense Procurement, Stuart Andrew recalled UK and Sweden’s partnership on defense includes: joint exercises in the Arctic and in Exercise Ramstein Alloy over the Eastern European skies; Swedish-made chaff and flare dispensers are used on British Typhoons and Saab’s Giraffe radar is a key part of the UK’s Sky Sabre ground-based air defense system; Swedish Gripen aircraft are equipped with radars designed and built by Leonardo in Edinburgh; The UK, working with European partners including Sweden, has developed Meteor air to air missiles.
Defense Minister Andrew confirmed that other nations were encouraged to join the UK-Swedish dialogue, on the condition that they had similar requirements.