The Supreme Commander Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Micael Bydén, at Säve airport, where host nation support with American and French forces is taking place as part of the Aurora 17 military exercises.
The Supreme Commander Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Micael Bydén, at Säve airport, where host nation support with American and French forces is taking place as part of the Aurora 17 military exercises. Credit: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Military exercise puts cooperation and new weapons systems in spotlight

Major in French Air Force: Nobody can make war alone
2:07 min

Aurora 17, Sweden's largest military exercise in more than two decades, is now in full swing.

Sweden is not a member of NATO, but Micael Bydén, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces told Swedish Radio News, that since Sweden signed a host nation support agreement with the military alliance last year, practicing exactly that - host nation support - is an important part of the exercises. 

"That means that we have taken the responsibility of giving support when someone needs it and calls upon us, and also that we are prepared to receive support the day we need it," Bydén said. 

He underscored the importance of Sweden practicing defense with other countries. 

"We're learning a tremendous amount. We're getting a lot of confirmation, and we're learning what we need to evolve," he said. 

Thomas Robert, a major in the French Air Force, told Swedish Radio News that it's important for France to build tighter cooperation with Sweden and the other countries participating in the exercises.

"Because today, I think nobody can make war alone," said Robert.

The French and American forces gathered here have brought their own surface to air missile systems, the SAMP/T and the Patriot battery units, respectively, in order to reinforce Sweden's defense in the simulations. 

Micael Bydén, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, told newspaper Dagens Nyheter that some of Sweden's anti-aircraft are getting too old and that anti-aircraft is an important component of defense.

Parliament has already decided that one of the two Hawk battalions will get new battery units of missiles, but to equip it with the new systems would cost at least SEK 10-12 billion - for just one battalion, according to DN.

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