MILAN — Sweden and France will increase their cooperation in the fielding of anti-tank capabilities as part of a new strategic agreement signed this week between the two nations, which will involve defense giants Saab and MBDA.

The chief executives of Swedish defense firm Saab, and multinational manufacturer MBDA, signed letters of intent on Jan 31. to strengthen the collaboration between their companies in the anti-tank and air-defense domains.

“We will be combining our expertise to deliver the best capabilities for the armed forces on the battlefield,” Éric Beranger, chief executive of MBDA, said.

The statement highlighted that the initial focus of this partnership will revolve around the supply of the French anti-tank guided missile system, the Akeron MP, to the Swedish and French armed forces.

A contract to this effect has already been awarded to both companies by their respective defense procurement agencies.

In the longer-term, their cooperation will also allow for the development of new variants of the missile to equip it with advanced capabilities, including beyond-line-of-sight firing.

This joint capability roadmap will position Akeron MP’s as an key tool in high-intensity conflicts, the Saab news release stated.

The anti-tank missile weighs 15 kilograms and has a range in excess of 4,000 meters, per the company website.

The announcement came as part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Sweden this week, during which he made a number of important remarks around the future of European security policy.

“We will have to be ready to act, defend and support Ukraine, whatever the U.S. decides. We are lucky to have such a partner, but we have to be lucid about the fact that Ukraine is part of the European continent and make the right and bold decisions,” he said during a speech at the Swedish Defense University.

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.

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