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Swedish Air Force

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Template:Infobox Military Unit Template:Swedish Armed Forces

The Swedish Air Force (Swedish, Flygvapnet) is the air force branch of the Swedish Armed Forces.


The Swedish Air Force was created on 1 July 1 1926, when the aircraft units of the Army and Navy were merged. Because of the escalating international tension during the 1930s the Air Force was reorganized and expanded from four to seven squadrons. When World War II broke out in 1939, further expansion was initiated; this was not finished until the end of the war. Although Sweden never entered the war, a large air force was considered necessary to ward off the threat of invasion and to resist pressure through military threats from the great powers. By 1945, the Swedish Air Force had over 800 combat-ready aircraft, including 15 fighter divisions.

A major problem for the Swedish Air Force during World War Two was the lack of fuel. Sweden was surrounded by countries at war and could not rely on imported oil. Instead domestic oil shales were heated to produce the needed petrol.

Expansion during the Cold War

The Swedish air force underwent a rapid modernization from 1945. It was no longer politically acceptable to equip it with second-rate models. Instead, the air staff purchased the best it could find from abroad, e.g. P-51D Mustangs and de Havilland Vampires, and supported the development of top performance domestic models. When the SAAB Tunnan fighter was introduced around 1950, Sweden suddenly had planes that were equal to the best of the Royal Air Force, Soviet Union and the U.S. Air Force.

During the 1950s, the air force started to build road bases after an idea taken from Germany. The bases were ordinary highways constructed in such a way that they could also serve as landing strips. During the Cold War large amounts of money (including all that had been reserved for Swedish nuclear weapons) were spent on the Swedish Air Force and domestic airplane production. In 1957 Sweden had the world's fourth most powerful air force, with about 800 modern planes in front-line service. During the 1950s, it introduced fighters such as the Saab J 29 Tunnan, Saab A 32 Lansen and Saab J 35 Draken.

War service

The Swedish Air Force has fought in two wars, the Finno-Soviet Winter War in 1939–40 and in the Congo Crisis 1961–64.

Finland 1940

When the Soviet Union attacked Finland in November 1939, Sweden came to its neighbour's assistance in most ways short of joining the war outright. A Swedish volunteer infantry brigade and a volunteer air squadron fought in northern Finland in January till March 1940. The squadron was designated F 19 and consisted of 12 Gloster Gladiator fighters and four Hawker Hart dive-bombers.

Congo 1961-64

The Swedish Air Force saw combat as part of the United Nations peace-keeping mission United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC) during the Congo Crisis, in 1961 to 1964. It established a separate air wing, F 22, equipped with a dozen semi-obsolete Tunnan fighters, which performed well under the rugged conditions in central Africa. The secessionist adversaries possessed only a small number of aircraft with poor combat capabilities.

1990s - Restructuring

During the 1990s, the Swedish Armed Forces went through a massive restructuring process in which some air bases were closed.


The future of the Swedish Air Force is today uncertain. With the collapse of the only military threat, the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, massive budget cuts have been made in the Swedish armed forces. The Swedish government have also decided to cut back on the Air Force and its fighters. Of the now 138 planes in service about 100 will form the future Swedish Air Force. Some orders have been made on the helicopter side and about 40 new units will join the air force in the next coming years. Saab have also joined the EU project for the unmanned future stealth plane nEUROn.

List of aircraft

Template:Standard table ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Aircraft ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Origin ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Type ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Versions ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|In service[1] ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Notes |- | JAS 39 Gripen|| Template:SWE || multirole fighter || 39A
39D || 98
12 || 20 C And 4 D Gripens are leased to Czech Republic and Hungary and will return around 2016[2]

|- | Saab 105 || Template:SWE || jet trainer
light ground attack || Sk60[3] || 42 |- | S-100B Argus || Template:SWE || AEW || S100B[4] || 6 || all aircraft now delivered[5]

|- | Bo 105 || Template:GER || Light utility helicopter
|| Hkp9[6] || 18 || To be replaced by Agusta A109 |- | CH-46 Sea Knight || Template:USA || transport helicopter || Hkp4[7] || 14 || To be replaced by NHI NH90 in 2008/09 |- | Eurocopter Super Puma || Template:FRA || transport helicopter || Hkp10[8] || 10 || |- | NHI NH90 || Template:EU || transport helicopter || Hkp14[9] || 0 || 18 on order |- | Agusta A109 || Template:ITA || transport helicopter || Hkp15[10] || 5 || 20 on order |- | C-130E Hercules || Template:USA || transport || Tp84[11] || 8 || |- |Gulfstream IV || Template:USA || VIP || Tp102[12] || 2 || |- |SPERVER || Template:FRA || Unmanned Aerial Vehicle || UAV Ugglan[13] || 3 || |}


Fighter units

There are three wings of fighters:

Helicopter units

A Swedish HKP4 during the "Swedish Battle Camp 2006" event.

The aviation units that formerly were under the Swedish Army ("Arméflyget") and the Royal Swedish Navy ("Marinflyget") have been merged with the helicopter units of the Air Force to form the single Helicopter Wing (Hkpflj) for the entire Armed Forces. The wing has been placed under the authority of the Air Force and consists of:

  • 1st Helicopter Squadron (1. hkpskv)
  • 2nd Helicopter Squadron (2. hkpskv)
    • Located at Berga (former Navy Aviation unit) and Uppsala (at LSS)
  • 3rd Helicopter Squadron (3. hkpskv)
  • Helicopter Squadron Malmen (Hkpflj/Malmen), former 4th Helicopter Battalion (4. hkpbat)
    • Located at Linköping/Malmen (former Army Aviation unit)
  • 5th Helicopter Squadron (5. hkpskv)


The Air Force is currently deploying the Saab Gripen for service. Gripen, designated JAS 39 Gripen—the designation JAS stands for Jakt (Air-to-Air), Attack (Air-to-Surface) and Spaning (Reconnaissance), and means every Gripen can fulfill all three mission types—is a modern multi-role fighter designed to replace Draken and Viggen. Capabilities of Gripen include a very short runway requirement, advanced data link equipment, and canard delta design with lateral instability and fly-by-wire.

Sweden has ordered 204 Gripen aircraft. 28 of those, however, are leased to the Czech and Hungarian Air Force (14 each), with an option to acquire them when the lease period expires. Furthermore, six aircraft will be sold to the Royal Thai Air Force in 2011, with a possibility of another six later on.

Retired aircraft

Svenska Aero "Jaktfalken" (1932-1941)

See also


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

de:Schwedische Luftwaffe fi:Ruotsin ilmavoimat no:Svenska flygvapnet pl:Szwedzkie Siły Powietrzne sv:Svenska flygvapnet

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Swedish Air Force".