WASHINGTON — Sweden has chosen the Raytheon-manufactured Patriot for its new air and missile defense system following a competition that pitted it against French consortium Eurosam’s SAMP/T.
The Swedish government has greenlighted the country’s defense materiel administration — FMV — to proceed with negotiations to buy Patriot. Sweden will send a letter of request for a letter of offer and acceptance to the U.S. government to initiate the process, according to Nov. 7 announcement posted to the FMV’s website.
The contract is estimated to be valued at roughly 10 billion krona (U.S. $1.2 billion).
The coming purchase marks another victory for Raytheon in terms of European sales of the system. Romania recently announced it would also buy the system, and the U.S. cleared the sale.
[Romania cleared to buy Patriot missile defense system]
“Sweden’s announcement brings them closer to joining the growing group of European nations depending on the combat-proven Patriot to defend against ballistic and cruise missiles, and advanced aircraft and drones. Raytheon will work closely with the U.S. and Swedish governments to provide Sweden with integrated air and missile defense capability,” the company said in a Nov. 7 statement.
Raytheon has 12 international Patriot customers. Romania would ratchet that number up to 13.
This is not the first time Patriot and SAMP/T have been pitted against one another in a European missile defense competition. They both participated in Poland’s Wisla competition. Poland is on a path to select Patriot after many years of debate on whether the selection meets the country’s requirements.
[Poland sends mixed signals on Patriot negotiations]
The Swedish air and missile defense competition experienced a small delay past an expected award timeline as the defense budget was debated within the Swedish government.
But as the Swedish government debated its overall funding, an entire Patriot battery and SAMP/T were both involved in Sweden’s three-week military exercise, Aurora 17, in September. It was the largest military exercise in more than 20 years in the country, with more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers involved.
[Sweden nearing decision on air defense system]
Patriot’s presence at exercises like Aurora has piqued the interest of countries that previously believed the system was not affordable.
“You are really seeing an interest, and countries have a newer perspective on pricing. I think for a long time some of these countries thought they couldn’t afford Patriot,” but the wide variety of customers globally has driven down the cost, according to Michael Tronolone, the director of Europe and NATO international business for Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems division, who spoke to Defense News at a London defense conference in September.
“The Swedish decision to procure Patriot is a big deal,” said Magnus Nordenman, a regional analyst with the Atlantic Council. “Once fielded it will help close a key gap in Swedish capabilities, since Sweden hasn’t invested in air defense for over three decades. It is also a real investment in deepening the U.S.-Swedish defense relationship, which is incredibly important for the government in Stockholm.”
Defense News Pentagon reporter Aaron Mehta contributed to this report.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.