WASHINGTON — The Swedish government has greenlighted a deal to buy Raytheon-made Patriot air and missile defense systems from the U.S. government after Swedish opposition leaders questioned whether Sweden could actually pay for the systems.
The FMV, the Swedish Ministry of Defence’s armaments directorate, announced August 2 that it had been authorized by the government to move forward on an agreement with the U.S. to purchase four Patriot systems.
The Swedish government announced its decision to buy Patriot in November 2017 after evaluating it against the French consortium Eurosam’s SAMP/T. Sweden anticipated the contract would be roughly 10 billion krona (U.S. $1.2 billion).
The U.S. State Department then approved the possible foreign military sale to Sweden in February for an estimated total of $3.2 billion.
But tight budget constraints for defense in Sweden caused opposition leaders to question the government’s capacity, or willingness, to release sufficient funding to the military to cover the procurement of the Patriot system.
Organizational strength assessments from the Swedish Armed Forces for the Ministry of Defence suggested the military lacked adequate funding in 2019-2020 to cover its day-to-day operational needs or move forward with key procurement programs like Patriot.
The opposition leaders proposed an alternative solution that would see the Patriot program funded through a special allocation separate from the main defense budget.
According to a Swedish government announcement, a U.S. offer to purchase Patriot delivered to Sweden in April this year promises to deliver Patriot to two Swedish air defense battalions before 2025.
It is unclear if Sweden will pay for the systems using special funding or through its base defense budget.
A letter of agreement between the two countries is expected soon, according to sources.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.