Sweden is to request the purchase of the Patriot medium-range air defense system from the United States, with the aim of having it fully operational by 2025, the ministry of defense said in a Tuesday press release.
“The Government has today authorized the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to send a Letter of Request to the United States, and to enter into negotiations for procurement of the Patriot air defence system,” the release said.
Sweden wants delivery of the Raytheon surface-to-air system to commence in 2020 and for the system to be fully operational by 2025 at the latest. The formal tender for the Patriot system is expected in spring 2018 and the government will make a final decision on the acquisition during 2018.
The FMV estimates the contract will exceed 10 billion Swedish Krona ($1.2 billion).
Sweden’s armed forces advocated Patriot because “it is a proven system with good delivery reliability and anti-ballistic missile capability,” the release said.
The release said the planned purchase “adheres to the implementation of the Statement of Intent,” signed by Sweden and the U.S. in June 2016. The SOI focused on improved bilateral cooperation between the two countries, particularly in interoperability, armament and research and development cooperation.
“We intend to work together to develop our defence capabilities, enhance our interoperability and our ability to deploy alongside each other operationally, thereby improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our defence efforts”, Sweden’s minister of defense Peter Hultqvist said at the time.
Patriot will replace the MIM-23 Hawk missile system currently deployed in Sweden.
Patriot air defense system
First introduced in 1975, the MIM-104 Patriot is the United States’ primary surface-to-air and anti-ballistic missile system which combines a high-performance radar with an advanced aerial interceptor missile. Manufactured by Raytheon, the system takes its name from the AN/MPQ-53 radar system, the “Phased array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target.”
The system is expected to remain in service until 2040.
Patriot have been sold to Taiwan, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Spain. South Korea and Jordan also purchased Patriot systems from Germany.
Poland hosts a battery of U.S. Patriot launchers. In 2012, NATO authorized the deployment of Patriot to Turkey to protect the country from missiles fired from Syria.
Patriot achieved its first undisputed shootdowns in 2014, when Israeli batteries shot down two Hamas UAVs, a Syrian unmanned aerial vehicle and a Syrian Air Force Sukhoi Su-24. In March 2017, it was revealed that Patriot successfully intercepted a quadcopter drone.