Swedish Armed Forces / Försvarsmakten
By Hans van Herk
Sweden came into existance as an independent state in the 10th century. A policy of armed neutrality was adopted in 1815 and is still current. Sweden is consequently not a NATO member, but is an enthusiastic member of the United Nations, and many UN peace keeping forces have had Swedish components. Sweden is also self-sufficient in the field of armaments, with a first rate-weapons industry. All elements - flying and non-flying - of the Air Force, Army and Navy are organised within the Försvarsmakten (Swedish Armed Forces).
Svenska Flygvapnet / Swedish Air Force
Just short after the Swedish Parliament concluded its report in the first half of 2001 on further cutbacks in the Defence budget the command structure within the Swedish Armed Forces was more streamlined. The original three independent Air Commands (South, Central and North) came under one command, the FlygTaktiska Kommando (FTK).
The FlygTaktiska Kommando has its Headquarters at the airbase of Uppsala in Central Sweden. However, there are four Military Districts, three of them with the same territorial extent as the former Joint Commands, the fourth is situated on the island of Gotland. The various Air Force Wings -Flygflottiljen- and Helicopterbatallions -Helikopterbataljonen- are reporting to these Military Districts. The respective Military Districts are:
Northern Military District, HQ at Boden
Central Military District, HQ at Strängnäs
Southern Military District, HQ at Gothenburg
Gotlands Military District, HQ at Visby
One can say that the number of squadrons within the Armed Forces have been dwindling over the past years. The flying units of the Air Force are mainly concentrated in the Northern and Southern Military Districts. Both Districts have one Fighter Wing with each two fighter squadrons. Further there is a dual role Fighter Wing in the Souther Military District. We have seen far better times.
For special purposes the Flygvanet also have an ASC and a SIGINT unit. These units are based at Linkoping-Malmen in central Sweden and are equipped with the S100B/D and S102B, special variants of the Saab 340 and Grumman Gulfstream.
Other designations are Sambandsflygrupp (Communications Flight), the Grundläggande Flygutbildning (Basic Flying Training) and the Grundläggande Taktisk Utbildning (Basic Tactical Training). Miscellaneous units include a Research Centre (Försökscentralen, abbreviated FC) at Malmslätt. Flygflottiljer usually have a regional title, for instance F7 "Skaraborgs Flygflottilj". The other names can be found in the Order of Battle.
Försvarsmaktens Helikopterflottilj / Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Wing
In 1998 all defence forces helicopter units have been organised in a common helicopter wing, which is called upon as Helikopterflottilj. Recent changes have been made to the organization structure in March 2004 and July 2004. This in order to streamline the Helicopter Command and with more efficiency to the helicopters used. Since 2001 we have witnessed the following helicopters being withdrawn from use; the Hkp3 (AB204), the Hkp5 (Hughes 269) and more recently the Hkp6 (AB206), the Hkp4 (Vertol) and the Hkp9 (Bo105). The current Order of Battle consists of three helicopter squadrons. New equipment has been bought, these are the Hkp14 (NH90) of which 18 have been ordered, the Hkp15 (A109) of which 20 have been ordered and the Hkp16 (Sikorsky UH-60M) of which 15 have been ordered.
Swedish military aircraft are identified by designations, consisting of a role prefix and a sequential number; role changes reflect themselves in a change of prefix, but not of number - thus, Tp102 and S102. Role prefixes in current use include JAS (Jakt Attack Spaning or fighter attack reconnaissance), S (Spaning or reconaissance), Sk (Skol or trainer), Tp (Transport) and Hkp (Helikopter).