Sweden to offer France laser-guided bombs in fight against IS
The Swedish government wants to sell an unknown number of laser-guided bombs to France to assist the country in the fight against IS, according to Swedish Television sources.
The proposed sale is part of the Swedish response to France's request for military assistance following the terrorist attacks in Paris last year. Sweden has already promised to add two more military officers to its force in Mali to support the UN mission there and allow France to use a Swedish transport aircraft for up to 100 hours, but according to SVT sources the government is also preparing to assist France with munitions, more specifically laser-guided bombs that could be used by French fighter jets.
"This is something that France has requested and that has been high up on their wish list and we want to assist them and contribute to raising their military capabilities," says Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist.
In order to speed up the process, Sweden may sell bombs out of its own arsenal, so that the US-made bombs would not have to be manufactured and delivered from the States. It is still unclear how much Sweden is asking for the bombs. Parliament will vote on the matter before the summer, according to SVT.
Hans Wallmark, the defense spokesperson for the conservative Moderate Party, is positive to the proposed sale, but wants the government to guarantee that Sweden's military capacity will not be affected.
"We support this deal in principle, but we want to go even further to support France. This is just one part of the support that Sweden will give France in the fight against the global terrorism that IS represents," Wallmark says.
The Left Party spokesperson, Stig Henriksson, does not support the sale and tells Swedish Television that he will vote against it in parliament.
"We shouldn't sell munitions to a country that's taking part in an armed conflict. 95 percent of all bombs that are used in wars, even laser-guided ones, end up hurting civilians," Henriksson says.
Sweden's support to France is estimated to cost up to SEK 40 million in total according to the government.