Swedish Armed Forces
This article needs to be updated.(April 2022)
|Swedish Armed Forces|
|Commander-in-Chief||Government (Kristersson Cabinet)|
|Minister of Defence||Pål Jonson|
|Supreme Commander||General Micael Bydén|
|3,020,782 males, age 18–47 (2017 est.),|
2,760,451 females, age 18–47 (2017 est.)
|1,980,592 males, age 18–47 (2017 est.),|
1,649,875 females, age 18–47 (2017 est.)
|58,937 males (2017 est.),|
56,225 females (2017 est.)
|Budget||$9.1 bilion (2023)|
|Percent of GDP||1.4% (2023)|
|Domestic suppliers||BAE Systems AB|
Saab Bofors Dynamics
|History||Military history of Sweden|
|Ranks||Military ranks of the Swedish Armed Forces|
The Swedish Armed Forces (Swedish: Försvarsmakten, lit. 'the Defense Force') is the government agency that forms the armed forces of Sweden, tasked with the defense of the country as well as with promoting Sweden's wider interests, supporting international peacekeeping, and providing humanitarian aid. It consists of the Swedish Army, the Swedish Air Force and the Swedish Navy, as well as a military reserve force, the Home Guard. Since 1994, all Swedish military branches are organized within a single unified government agency, headed by the Supreme Commander, even though the individual services maintain their distinct identities.
The Swedish Armed Forces is made up of 23,600 active personnel, 11,200 military reserves, 24,000 Home Guard and 5,200 additional conscripts yearly into the Reserves (set to increase to 8,000 conscripts yearly by 2024) as of 2022.
Units of the Swedish Armed Forces are currently on deployment in several international operations either actively or as
Sweden has not participated in an officially declared war since the 1814 Swedish–Norwegian War, although its forces, under the UN flag, have been involved in conflicts like the Congo Crisis and the military intervention in Libya. The Swedish government has managed to keep Sweden out of war through a policy of neutrality.
The Swedish army has 121 tanks (
The Swedish Navy has a total of 387 ships, including 4 submarines (3 Gotland, 1 Södermanland), 7 corvettes (5 Visby, 2 Gävle), 9 minesweepers (5 Koster, 4 Styrsö), 13 larger patrol boats (2 Stockholm and 11 Tapper) and 9 specialised ships with different support duties. The rest is made up of different smaller vessels such as the CB90.
Currently the Swedish Airforce has a total of 210 aircraft, 94 of those being
After a period of enhanced readiness during World War I, the Swedish Armed Forces were subject to severe downsizing during the interwar years. When World War II started, a large rearmament program was launched to once again guard Swedish neutrality, relying on mass male conscription to fill the ranks.
After World War II, Sweden considered building
Sweden remains a neutral country, but has cooperated with NATO since the Partnership for Peace in 1994. Sweden was one of five partner nations granted the status of Enhanced Opportunities Partner at NATO's Wales Summit in 2014, coinciding with Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine.
The Russo-Georgian War of 2008 and the events in Ukraine in 2014 gradually shifted Swedish debate back in favour of increased defence spending, as concerns grew over Russia's military buildup and intentions. Conscription was reintroduced in 2017 to supplement the insufficient number of volunteers signing up for service. Unlike in the past, the current conscription system applies to both men and women.
Following the United Kingdom leaving the European Union in 2020, the EU's mutual defence clause (Lisbon Treaty Article 42.7) ceased to apply to the UK. In 2022, Sweden and the UK signed a mutual security deal, re-pledging support if either state is attacked.
On June 29th, 2022, Sweden along with Finland was formally invited to become a member of NATO.
The Swedish Armed Forces have four main tasks:
- To assert the territorial integrity of Sweden.
- To defend the country if attacked by a foreign nation.
- To support the civil community in case of disasters (e.g. flooding).
- To deploy forces to international peace support operations.
Sweden aims to have the option of remaining
Recent political decisions have strongly emphasized the capability to participate in international operations, to the point where this has become the main short-term goal of training and equipment acquisition.
In 2013, after Russian air exercises in close proximity to the Swedish border were widely reported, only six percent of Swedes expressed confidence in the ability of the nation to defend itself.
Before the enactment of the
The Swedish Armed Forces consists of three service branches; the Army, the Air Force and the Navy, with addition of the military reserve force Home Guard. Since 1994, the first three service branches are organized within a single unified government agency, headed by the Supreme Commander, while the Home Guard reports directly to the Supreme Commander. However, the services maintain their separate identities through the use of different uniforms, ranks, and other service specific traditions.
Armed Forces Headquarters
Some of the schools listed below answer to other units, listed under the various branches of the Armed Forces:
- Artillery Combat School (ArtSS) located in Boden
- Armed Forces Technical School (FMTS) located in Halmstad
- Air Warfare Centre (LSS) located in Uppsala
- Armed Forces Interpreter/Interrogator School (TolkS) located in Uppsala
- Swedish Defence University (FHS) located in Stockholm
- Field Work School (FarbS) located in Eksjö
- Air Force Air Officer School (FBS) located in Uppsala
- Swedish Parachute Ranger School (FJS) located in Karlsborg
- Flight School (FlygS) located in Linköping/Malmen
- Helicopter Combat School (HkpSS) located in Linköping/Malmen
- National Home Guard Combat School (HvSS) located in Södertälje
- Command School (LedS) located in Enköping
- Anti-Aircraft Combat School (LvSS) located in Halmstad
- Military Academy Halmstad (MHS H) located in Halmstad
- Military Academy Karlberg (MHS K) located in Stockholm/Karlberg
- Land Warfare Centre (MSS) located in Skövde also a detachment in Kvarn
- Swedish Naval Warfare Centre (SSS) located in Karlskrona and Stockholm/Berga
- Swedish Armed Forces Centre for Defence Medicine (FömedC) located in Gothenburg, with a section in Linköping
- Swedish Armed Forces Logistics (FMLOG) located in Stockholm, Boden, Karlskrona and Arboga
- Armed Forces Intelligence and Security Centre (FMUndSäkC) located in Uppsala
- Armed Forces Musical Centre (FöMusC) located in Stockholm/Kungsängen
- Recruitment Centre (RekryC) located in Stockholm
- National CBRN Defence Centre (SkyddC) located in Umeå
- Swedish EOD and Demining Centre (SWEDEC) located in Eksjö
- Swedish Armed Forces International Center (Swedint) located in Stockholm/Kungsängen
The Nordic Battlegroup is a cooperative formation of the Swedish Armed Forces alongside mainly the other Nordic countries but also some of the Baltic countries as well as Ireland, tasked as one of the EU Battlegroups. The headquarter garrison for this group is currently situated in Enköping, Sweden.
Sweden had military forces deployed in Afghanistan with the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission. Swedish forces were part of the previous International Security Assistance Force (2002–2014) in Afghanistan. Sweden is also part of the multinational Kosovo Force and has a naval force deployed to the gulf of Aden as a part of Operation Atalanta. Military observers from Sweden have been sent to a large number of countries, including Georgia, Lebanon, Israel and Sri Lanka and Sweden also participates with staff officers to missions in Sudan and Chad. Sweden has been one of the Peacekeeping nations of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission that is tasked with overseeing the truce in the Korean Demilitarized Zone since the Korean war ended in 1953.
A battalion and other units were deployed with the NATO-led peacekeeping SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996–2000), following the Bosnian War. NORDBAT 2 has been studied as an example of mission command on a chaotic battlefield with conflicting national orders.
Swedish air and ground forces saw combat during the Congo Crisis, as part of the United Nations Operation in the Congo force. 9 army battalions were sent in all, and their mission lasted 1960–1964.
From national service to an all-volunteer force
In mid-1995, with the national service system based on universal military training, the Swedish Army consisted of 15 maneuver brigades and, in addition, 100 battalions of various sorts (artillery, engineers, rangers, air defense, amphibious, security, surveillance etc.) with a mobilization-time of between one and two days. When national service was replaced by a selective service system, fewer and fewer young men were drafted due to the reduction in size of the armed forces. By 2010 the Swedish Army had two battalions that could be mobilized within 90 days. When the volunteer system had been fully implemented by 2019, the army consisted of 7 maneuver battalions and 14 battalions of various sorts with a readiness of one week. The Home Guard was reduced in size to 22,000 soldiers. In 2019 the Swedish Armed Forces, now with a restored national service system combined with volunteer forces, aimed to reach 3 brigades as maneuver units by 2025.
|National Service Force 1995||Selective Service Force 2010||All-Volunteer Force 2019||Selective Service Force/Volunteer Force 2025|
|Maneuver units||15 brigades||2 battalions||7 battalions||3 brigades|
|Auxiliary units||100 battalions||4 companies||14 battalions||?|
|Readiness||1 to 2 days||90 days||7 days||?|
After having ended the universal male conscription system in 2010, as well as deactivating conscription in peacetime, the conscription system was re-activated in 2017. Since 2018 both women and men are conscripted on equal terms. The motivation behind reactivating conscription was the need for personnel, as volunteer numbers proved to be insufficient to maintain the armed forces.
The Swedish defence forces are currently, educating 5,000-6,000 conscripts per year. However, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the defence forces stated that there is a need for significantly more than the current. By december 2022, it was announced to increase the yearly conscripted to 10,000 by the end of 2035. In addition, figures from 2022, show that 79% of Swedes support in some form, an increase in the number of people who are conscripted. 47% of the respondents said that the majority of 19/20 year-olds should perform conscription.
Military personnel of the Swedish Armed Forces consists of:
- Officer OFF/K – Regular continuously serving officers (OF1-OF9).
- Officer OFF/T – Reserve part-time officers (OF1-OF3).
- Specialistofficer SO/K – Regular continuously serving NCO (OR6-OR9).
- Specialistofficer SO/T – Reserve part-time serving NCO (OR6-OR7).
- GSS/K – Regular continuously serving enlisted (OR1-OR5).
- GSS/T – Reserve part-time serving enlisted (OR1-OR5).
- GSS/P – Personnel in wartime placement (OR1-OR5).
K = Continuously
T = Part-time
P = Conscript, for personnel drafted under the Swedish law of comprehensive defense duty
Planned size of the Swedish Armed Forces 2011–2020
|Category||Continuously serving||Part-time serving||Contracted|
|OFF||3,900 OFF/K||2,600 OFF/T||–|
|SO||4,900 SO/K||included in the above SO/T||–|
|GSS||6,600 GSS/K||9,500 GSS/T||–|
Annual recruitment of GSS is assumed to be about 4,000 persons.
Criticism and research
In 2008, professor
The transformation of the old invasion defence-oriented armed forces to the new smaller and more mobile force has also been criticized. According to the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces the present defence budget will not be enough to implement the new defence structure by 2019. And that even when finished the armed forces will only be able to fight for a week at most.
During 2013 several Russian Air Force exercises over the Baltic Sea aimed at Swedish military targets have made the future of the Swedish Armed Forces a hot topic and several political parties now want to increase defense funding. In August 2019, the government announced a bank tax to fund the military spending.
When an army based on national service (conscription) was introduced in 1901 all commissioned officers had ranks that were senior of the warrant officers (underofficerare) and non-commissioned officers (underbefäl). In a reform 1926 the relative rank of the then senior warrant officer, fanjunkare, was increased to be equal with the junior officer rank underlöjtnant and above the most junior officer rank fänrik. In 1960 the relative rank of the warrant officers were elevated further so that
- i. The lowest warrant officer, sergeant, had relative rank just below the lowest officer rank, fänrik.
- ii. The second warrant officer rank, fanjunkare, had relative rank between fänrik and löjtnant
- iii. The highest warrant officer rank, förvaltare, had relative rank between first lieutenant and captain.
In 1972 the personnel structure changed, reflecting increased responsibilities of warrant and non-commissioned officers, renaming the underofficerare as kompaniofficerare, giving them the same ranks as company grade officers (fänrik, löjtnant, kapten). Underbefäl was renamed plutonsofficerare and given the rank titles of sergeant and fanjunkare, although their relative rank were now placed below fänrik. The commissioned officers were renamed regementsofficerare, beginning with löjtnant. The three-track career system was maintained, as well as three separate messes.
A major change in the personnel structure in 1983 (NBO 1983), merged the three professional corps of platoon officers, company officers, and regimental officers into a one-track career system within a single corps called professional officers (yrkesofficerare). The three messes were also merged to one.
In 2008 the Riksdag decided to create a two-track career system with a category called specialistofficerare. When implementing the parliamentary resolution the Supreme Commander decided that some ranks in this category should, like the old underofficerare ranks in 1960–1972, have a relative rank higher than the most junior officers.
Other government agencies reporting to the Ministry of Defence
- Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, or Försvarets materielverk (FMV)
- Swedish National Service Administration, or Plikt- och prövningsverket
- Swedish Defence University, or Försvarshögskolan
- Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment, or Försvarets radioanstalt (FRA)
- Swedish Defence Research Agency, or Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut (FOI)
- Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, or Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap
Voluntary defence organizations
- Home Guard
- Swedish Women's Voluntary Defence Organization ("Lottorna")
- Society and Defence
- Scandinavian defence union
- Gotland National Conscription
- Origins of Swedish conscription system
- Per Albin Line
- Military on Gotland
- Swedish Fortifications Agency
- Swedish National Inspectorate of Strategic Products
- List of wars involving Sweden
- List of Swedish military commanders
- List of Swedish monarchs
- List of Swedish regiments
- List of military aircraft of Sweden
- List of Swedish military calibers
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- ^ "En kombination av frivillighet och plikt" [A combination of voluntariness and duty]. Swedish Armed Forces (in Swedish). 2 March 2017. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- ^ a b "Personalsiffror" [Personnel Figures]. Swedish Armed Forces (in Swedish).
- ^ "Statens budget i siffror" [State budget in figures]. Government Office of Sweden (in Swedish). 11 June 2022. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
- ^ "TRENDS IN WORLD MILITARY EXPENDITURE, 2021" (PDF). SIPRI. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
- ^ "Försvarsmakten utomlands" [The Armed Forces abroad]. Swedish Armed Forces (in Swedish).
- ^ "Northern Wind 2019 – Winter Warfare Exercise" (PDF). Swedish Armed Forces. March 2019.
- ^ "EUR-Lex - mutual_defence - EN - EUR-Lex". eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
- ^ Kauranen, Anne (11 May 2022). "UK strikes new security agreement with Sweden and Finland". Reuters. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
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- ^ "Försvarets fyra huvuduppgifter" [The four main tasks of the Armed Forces]. Swedish Armed Forces (in Swedish). 17 September 2013. Archived from the original on 17 September 2013.
- ^ "Sveriges säkerhetspolitik" [Sweden's security policy]. Government Office of Sweden (in Swedish). 25 March 2008. Archived from the original on 19 October 2008.
Sverige är militärt alliansfritt. Denna säkerhetspolitiska linje, med möjlighet till neutralitet vid konflikter i vårt närområde, har tjänat oss väl. [Sweden is militarily non-aligned. This line of security policy, with the possibility of neutrality in the event of conflicts in our immediate area, has served us well.]
- ^ "Nordic Battlegroup". Swedish Armed Forces. 19 January 2009. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
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- ^ "Our task". Swedish Armed Forces. 25 September 2007. Archived from the original on 3 August 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
- ^ "The Swedish military service system". Swedish Armed Forces. 28 September 2007. Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
- ^ "Ett användbart försvar – med kraftigt stärkt försvarsförmåga" [A useful defense - with greatly strengthened defensive ability]. Swedish Armed Forces (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- ^ Benitez, Jorge (30 April 2013). "Most Swedes doubt Sweden can defend itself". Atlantic Council. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- ^ Gould, Joe (27 December 2021). "Sweden's top general on watching Russia and responding to an invasion of Ukraine". Defense News.
- ^ "Duties of the Monarch". Royal Court of Sweden. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- ^ "Armed Forces Headquarters (HKV)". Swedish Armed Forces. 1 December 2008. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
- ^ "Högkvarteret (HKV)" [Headquarters]. Swedish Armed Forces (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
- ^ "Högkvarterets organisation" (PDF). Swedish Armed Forces (in Swedish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 February 2012.
- ^ "Address list". Swedish Armed Forces. 1 October 2007. Archived from the original on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 28 May 2008.
- ^ "Training Centres". Swedish Armed Forces. Archived from the original on 20 March 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- ^ "Korea – NNSC". Swedish Armed Forces. Archived from the original on 6 April 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- ^ Ivarsson, Ulf (February 2007). "Pendeln måste slå tillbaka" [The pendulum must swing back]. Hemvärnet (in Swedish) (1): 5.
- ^ "Försvarsberedningen föreslår fyra nya regementen och utökad verksamhet på flera platser" [The Defense Committee proposes four new regiments and expanded operations in several places]. Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 14 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
- ^ ISSN 0961-2025.
- ^ Dickson, Daniel & Rundstrom, Bjorn (2 March 2017). "Sweden returns draft amid security worries and soldier shortage". Reuters.
- ^ "Peter Hultqvist (S): Öka antalet värnpliktiga från 5 000 till 8 000". Fokus. 13 January 2020.
- ^ "TV4.se".
- ^ Nyheter, S. V. T. (23 December 2022). "Mål: 10 000 värnpliktiga före 2036". SVT Nyheter.
- ^ "TV4.se".
- ^ Jonsson, Ulf; Nordlund, Peter (November 2012). Frivilliga soldater istället för plikt – internationella erfarenheter och ekonomiska konsekvenser [From conscription to an all-volunteer force – international experiences and economic consequences] (PDF) (Report) (in Swedish). The Swedish Defense Research Agency – via Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences.
- ^ "Karriärstyrda officerare skapar inkompetent försvar" [Career-driven officers create an incompetent defense]. Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 6 November 2008. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
- ^ Holmström, Mikael (30 December 2012). "Försvar med tidsgräns" [Defence with a time limit]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 23 March 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- ^ "Ryska bombflyg övade mot Sverige" [Russian bombers practiced against Sweden]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). TT. 6 November 2013. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- ^ Holmström, Mikael (22 April 2013). "Ryskt flyg övade anfall mot Sverige" [Russian aircraft practiced attacks on Sweden]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 23 March 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- ^ Dawod, Nivette (10 October 2013). "Majoritet vill rusta militärt mot Ryssland" [Majority wants to equip military against Russia]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- ^ "Sweden announces bank tax to finance military spending". France 24. 1 September 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
Manpower-numbers are taken from "The World Factbook". 21 June 2022.
- Official website (in English)