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).
In 2001, 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). This command has its Headquarters at the airbase of Uppsala in Central Sweden.
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 Helicopter Squadrons -Helikopterskvadronen- 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
The flying units of the Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) are mainly concentrated in the Northern and Southern Military Districts. Both Districts have one Fighter Wing (F17 and F21) with each two fighter squadrons. Next to these frontline wings there is a dual role Fighter Wing (F7) in the Southern Military District.
In October 2020, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) published a 181-page document outlining the defence bill for the period 2021-2025. The proposal sees the largest increase, USD 3.1 billion compared to 2020, in defence spending in Sweden for many decades. For the Armed Forces, the defence bill sets out a series of measures that improve equipment, readiness, training, and organisation across the armed forces units, including the reestablishment of a number of units, including F16 Upplands Flygflottilj (air wing) at Uppsala air base.
For the Swedish Air Force, the defence bill proposes that the current force structure of six combat aircraft squadrons will be maintained through the 2021-25 period. Four squadrons (divisioner) will convert to the Saab JAS39E Gripen, while two squadrons will retain the JAS39C/D Gripen. It has not been determined yet with what type of aircraft F16 Upplands Flygflottilj will be equipped, but this might be the JAS39C/D Gripen.
For special purposes the air force also have an Airborne Surveillance & Control (ASC) and a Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) unit. These units are based at Linkoping-Malmen in central Sweden and are equipped with the S100D and S102B, special variants of the Saab 340 and Grumman Gulfstream IV. On 30 June 2022, Saab announced that the Försvarets materielverk (FMV, Swedish Defence Material Administration) has placed an order for two GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft to replace the ageing S100D. Both GlobalEye aircraft are to be delivered in 2027 and the deal also includes options on another two. The two modified Gulfstreams are to be maintained, with no replacement plans to be made until after 2025.
Other units within the air force are the Sambandsflygrupp (Communications Flight), the Grundläggande Flygutbildning (Basic Flying Training) and the Grundläggande Taktisk Utbildning (Basic Tactical Training). In May 2021, the FMV officially announced that the Grob G120TP has been selected as the new basic training aircraft for the air force. The type will replace the ageing Saab 105, also known as the Sk60.
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.
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).
In 1998 all defence forces helicopter units have been organised in a common helicopter wing, which is called upon as Försvarsmaktens Helikopterflottilj (Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Wing).
Since 2001 we have witnessed the following helicopters being withdrawn from use; the Hkp3 (AB204), the Hkp5 (Hughes 269), the Hkp6 (AB206), the Hkp4 (Vertol) and the Hkp9 (Bo105).
In 2004, changes were made to the organisation in order to streamline the Helicopter Command. The current Order of Battle consists of three helicopter squadrons (Hkpskv, Helikopterskvadronen). New equipment was acquired, the Hkp14 (NH90) of which 18 were bought, the Hkp15 (A109) of which 20 were bought and the Hkp16 (Sikorsky UH-60M) of which 15 were bought. However, Sweden decided that the NH90 is definitely not able to meet the needs of the Armed Forces.
On 1 November 2022, Sweden's Defence Chief General Micael Byden, revealed the new Defence spending and equipment plans for the coming period. The most significant news item is the plan to retire fleet of NH90 helicopters. During the 2024-2030 period a parallel acquisition for a new maritime platform will run, while additional Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks are also procured. Any delays encountered in delivery of replacements will result in more gradual NH90 withdrawals, but the entire NH90 fleet is to be retired by 2035 at the latest under the new plans.