“An armed attack on Sweden cannot be ruled out”, claimed Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist.

It is understood that an extra 27 billion Swedish kronor ($3 billion, 2.6 billion euros) will be added to the country’s defence budget from 2021 to 2025.

The proposed spending rise, which still  needs to be approved by parliament, would target all branches of the military and would see the number of personnel grow from 60,000 to 90,000.

According to local media, after the end of the Cold War, Sweden slashed military spending. That was a subject of debate for a long time, and the country’s parliament eventually decided on a turnaround following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Sweden reintroduced mandatory military service in 2017 and in January 2018, the non-Nato member reopened a garrison on the island of Gotland amid concerns about Russian intentions in Europe and the Baltic.

Hultqvist warned though that rebuilding the military would be a drawn out process and lamented that the previous “disarmament went too far,” calling on future leaders not to “repeat the mistakes” and maintain “stability”.

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Another Country we need to strengthen ties with as we are increasingly cut off from the major European powers.


That’s the UKs choice.


FYI Sweden is a EU member


Never depend on others, especially the leftist EU for your country’s defense.

Andy P

Um, would you advocate us withdrawing from NATO then Dan, sending back all those shiny new jets we’ve just bought from America too ???

Ya know, you wouldn’t want to have to rely on any one else when defending your country.


I would guess seeing as the uk was part of the team that developed the f35 it would be ok plus anyone would rather we supply our military with weapons we build another point is when have we ever depended on Europe

Andy P

OK Tim, I’ll play… I’m sure that 10% of an aircraft will be really handy….. I was replying to what was a pretty broad post of not depending on others, obviously it then took it a step further and named a particular political outlook and geographical location but I’m pretty sure both us and the French joined forces against the beastly Boche a couple times, Since then, we’ve been allies with said Jarmans, we’ve even worked together on things like the Tornado. Basically, you can wave your Union Flag (or any other nationality of choice) but in the modern world… Read more »


I would just like to add that it has been an essential part of British foreign policy to create and work with allies since our we first developed a national identity that included our ruling classes, post the high Middle Ages. Find any significant British war or major foreign policy event that did not include allies in Europe or across the world. How on earth does anyone think an island with a population of 10million people created the largest empire the world has ever seen, ruling 20% of the worlds land mass…….it was by making a lot of friends (… Read more »

Douglas Newell

The UK had strong defence links with the European Powers before we joined the EU and will continue to have them after we leave that benighted organisation.


Another blank cheque to Uncle Sam.

Paul T

Finland is in a similar situation,it recently put in FMS Requests for both FA18 -E/F and F35.

Mark T

That will be part of the F18c replacement competition in which Typhoon, Gripen and Rafale are also in the running.


True but let’s be realistic. They will choose the F35 to benefit from close ties to US 😉 it’s not like Finland can count on Europe for defense.


“They will choose the F35 to benefit from close ties to US”

In other words Finland already has close ties to the USA, but it has to buy F-35 to benefit from those close ties? You dropped me there…

“…it’s not like Finland can count on Europe for defense.”

What’s your point? Can any unallied country count on any other country for defense? Can Finland count on the USA? Can other European countries count on Finland? Let me guess the real motive for you comment: you oppose the EU, and saw another opportunity to sow mistrust against the union?


I would have thought most of the increased spending will go to domestic defence manufacturers BAE, Saab and whoever builds their naval vessels domestically. I think uncle Sam spends more on its own military capability to defend Europe than it get back from exports.


Not really, for example they are talking about increasing sub numbers by keeping an older boat in service, nothing to do with the US, or the increase in Army numbers for example.


Another country massively increasing defense spending. Surely we will too.

Peter S.

So, if my sums are right, Sweden will up spending from 7.5b to 10.5b USD. This will get them 90000 personnel. UK spends @ 60 b USD and gets @ 135000. Why do we appear to get so little for our defence budget?

Daniele Mandelli

World leading SF, with ability to use. That alone is expensive. PJOB – Permanent Joint Operating bases in several locations around the world. SSN. How many nations have them? SSBN. T45 and T26 capabilities. Aldermaston, Burghfield, Porton Down. World leading intelligence / comms systems linking into 5 eyes. Places like Basil Hill, ( ISS/ GOSCC ) redevelopment came in around 600 million. Places like Wyton. Unique intelligence hub. Aircraft Carriers. Large number of bases, many legacy from WW2. F35, ISTAR assets, C17s. 50,000 plus MoD civilians, many of whom play vital roles and should not be scoffed at. A military… Read more »

Peter S.

I do realise that Sweden essentially funds local self defence whereas we try to be a mini USA with global reach. But one consequence is that Sweden can field as many combat aircraft as UK and a similar number of fully up to date MBTs and SPGs. The budgetary pressures of UK global ambition have left our army desperately short of such equipment and our warships and aircraft lacking heavyweight anti shipping missiles. By its narrower focus, Sweden has succeeded in maintaining domestic production of key platforms and weapons whereas UK now imports many of these. Sweden shows how much… Read more »

Peter S.

Sorry ” post covid”. Damned predictive text.


Peter, with respect, what is self defence? I have this debate with that ill informed troll Harold. I understand where you are coming from, that we may need to reduce our overseas escapades (maybe a few NATO allies can take up some of the slack?) BUT, define self defence? Any military which equips itself as, and operates with a “defensive” posture, for defensive operations only will LOSE EVERY SINGLE TIME. To be defensive, in that respect, you give the initiative to the enemy, he chooses the time, place, equipment used, etc etc. You give him the ability to operate freely… Read more »

Andy P

“PJOB – Permanent Joint Operating bases in several locations around the world. SSN. How many nations have them? SSBN. T45 and T26 capabilities. Aldermaston, Burghfield, Porton Down. World leading intelligence / comms systems linking into 5 eyes. Places like Basil Hill, ( ISS/ GOSCC ) redevelopment came in around 600 million. Places like Wyton. Unique intelligence hub. Aircraft Carriers. Large number of bases, many legacy from WW2. F35, ISTAR assets, C17s. 50,000 plus MoD civilians, many of whom play vital roles and should not be scoffed at. A military that actually deploys for operations on a regular basis rather than… Read more »

Douglas Newell

I wish we had the ability to put likes on comments. You’re spot on with this one.


Our forces are hollowed out. I once saw a politician describe a training exercise in Europe where we sent a General and 100 troops and Spain I think it was had sent 1000. He said the UK is a framework nation but couldn’t answer the follow up question of “So we provide the Generals and the other countries provide the troops. Do they not have Generals of their own?” I know we have SSBNs and very good special forces but we waste so much money on everything in this country it’s not surprising we don’t get as much bang for… Read more »

Peter S.

Daniele’s 4 reasons- bungling dither delay stretching programmes out-are all part of the problem. But underlying these is the single root cause: the unwillingness of any UK government to fund the ambition. The salami slicing cuts have tried to make the numbers work but have hollowed out all 3 services. So we may have retained theoretical capabilities, but we have little resilience to sustain them. We may be able to sail a carrier task group around the Pacific, but what could it actually do and for how long in the face of a peer enemy challenge? Our defence budget will… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

“the unwillingness of any UK government to fund the ambition.” That is NEVER in doubt Peter, and on that I agree with you 100% I’d also highlight a point you raised in your earlier reply “we try to be a mini USA with global reach.” Because we are. And we were. Just over 70 years ago we had one of the greatest empires ever seen. Sweden did not. We have world wide responsibilities, agreements, relationships, culturally, militarily, economically. As Andy P said, a worldwide “footprint” We are also on the UNSC P5. When in world history has a country ever… Read more »


Fully agree Daniele with your posts on this matter. There are many and disappointingly in the mainstream media that poke fun at the UK military. Realistically the UK apart from the US and possibly France have a global sustainable reach, and for China despite the size of its military would have logistical issues deploying around the globe.

Peter S.

I certainly take no pleasure in the relative decline of the UK since 1945. But that decline has been inevitable, shared with the other European colonial powers. The era in which British trade in British ships was protected by a global navy with many overseas bases is long gone and will never come back. To echo your cardboard analogy, Britain to me is like the owner of a crumbling mansion he cannot afford to repair but who refuses to downsize even though the children have left home. Britain’s remaining overseas possessions are tiny and unimportant. None contributes to our defence… Read more »

David Flandry

And yet France manages to maintain thousands more troops than the UK, develop it own admittedly small strategic forces, build a space industry(based in part on UK rockets). The present UK forces are not for protecting an empire but projecting power and defending sea lanes and allies.

Alan Reid

“The present UK forces are not for protecting an empire but projecting power and defending sea lanes and allies”. I agree with your comment, David.
In respect of France, like the UK – it has an uneven defence capability: for instance, lack of heavy-lift, and an unconvincing carrier capability. But as a continental power, you would expect it to have more troops than the UK.

Alan Reid

Hi Peter, You make some interesting points, but I find it difficult to accept that the UK hasn’t downsized its “mansion”. At the end of empire (1970), the defence budget was 6% of GDP – today it is barely 2%. Rightly or wrongly, the UK believes that its relationship with the United States is the key to its defence – and the defence of Western Europe. Indeed that has been the tenet of our approach since 1940. Today, we still share our continent with a large, heavily-armed nuclear power, hostile to our interests – and one which has conducted a… Read more »

Peter S.

To continue with my analogy: we have kept the mansion( global reach) but no longer have the kids contribution to the costs of upkeep. As you note, we have cut from 6 to2% of GDP but still want to be a global player. I would love us to spend more but that isn’t going to happen. So to make sure we have proper kit and numbers for the really necessary capabilities, we perhaps have to be less global. That wouldn’t mean giving up Cyprus or Gibraltar but might mean staying away from the Pacific or Indian ocean. I absolutely share… Read more »

4th watch

Agreed the Pacific is an ocean too far. A jaunt round the globe though is a hard habit to break and lots of friends like to see us from time to time.

Andy P

Hi Alan, I’d like to thank you and Peter S. for providing a bit of food for thought, some interesting points and approaches from both of you.

Meirion X

Nimrod MRA4 airframes were Un-airworthy!
No need to debate this issue again.

4th watch

So what are you going to do with a 68,000,000 people living on a very crowded country? Surely this population is largely a legacy of all that nasty Empire business? The children haven’t left home and so in my estimation you have to keep busy and outward looking or we are scuppered. Besides, there are places where if they get into trouble we have a moral incentive to help out. That’s who we are. We aren’t the Swedes, the Swiss or the Irish etc. who stand on the sidelines saying ‘ Oh bother, beastly stuff, little me, none of my… Read more »

Peter S.

Our large population really comes from being first to industrialise. That population was supplied with cheap food from our colonies to the detriment of UK farming. Trade in UK manufactures and foreign food was protected by the Royal Navy. This dependence was the biggest threat to us in both world wars. But today there is much less of a link between economy and defence. The world buys German cars etc but Germany,for obvious reasons,rarely intervenes abroad. I do not see any greater need for Britain to get involved in overseas problems outside our treaty commitments. We do not have the… Read more »

Meirion X

Britain can only produce up to 60% of it’s own food. We are venerable.

Meirion X

We also got a Blue Water navy as well, which Sweden has not got!


I wonder if some of the extra funding will go into Team Tempest? Even a few million dollars of government monet would send a message that Sweden is serious about sticking with it.


Sweden is not part of Tempest, it is only doing a joint study for future tech it wants to use to modernize the Gripen. (i suggest you take a look at the RIAT 2019 press conference, the point was made very clearly)
This extra spend is partly to help Saab stay afloat because it is in financial difficulty, and Sweden considers Saab as a major pillar to its strategic national defense.


The latest update from Sweden on Team Tempest is described in the attached link: https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/sweden-firms-up-fcas-partnership-with-uk-but-no-commitment-to-tempest At the moment there isn’t a agreement on Sweden being a part of Team Tempest, but to “develop a close working relationship” with the partners. whatever that means? Historically Sweden has always favoured the lightweight multirole fighter. I don’t see this changing. The basing and operating methods are centred around their road networks and the ability of their aircraft to use them. Hence since the days of the Viggen and now Grippen the aircraft required a very good short take off and landing capability. The… Read more »


Hi DaveyB, that’s a good point – when the talk turns to Tempest, the swish computer renderings and the model that Williamson unvieled a few years back instantly spring to mind. But will Tempest, if it hopefully does come to fruition and survives the umpteenth defence spending reviews that will undobtedly happen between now and 2035, actually resemble that model or images? Or will Tempest be more like the FOAS? Less about the specific airframe, and more about the technology and advanced capability? Having said that, I wouldn’t be necessarily adverse to a two strand approach as you describe, having… Read more »


Germany could take a lesson from Sweden and not always depend on others for their own defense.


Germany is part of NATO, Sweden isn’t.

Christopher Allen

And? Doesn’t change the fact that German soldiers were once training with broomsticks as guns, and that they large number of helicopters and jets in no condition to be operated.

Levi Goldsteinberg

Every country in the world is doing like. We’d have to be insane to do the reverse


What EU countries are realising the only way that you can support jobs is through defence spending EU rules mean its the only sector you don’t need to open up to foreign competition. Germany is doing the same.

4th watch

Except the French who as usual are practiced subsidisers and rule breakers and yet some how get away with just about everything. I sometimes think they must have two sets of books!