Today the Government presented a bill to the Riksdag on multilateral cooperation on strategic air transport.
(March 18, 2008) -- The bill has been prepared in light of Sweden's long-term need to ensure access to strategic military air transport capacity, partly due to the increased ambition to participate in international crisis management operations.
"The lack of strategic transport capacity is a factor that often delays or prevents preparations for international operations. This joint solution enables smaller countries to ensure they have access to transport facilities so as to be able to contribute promptly to peace and security operations," says Minister for Defence Sten Tolgfors.
Sweden and 14 other countries have jointly negotiated an arrangement to be known as Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC). The countries will obtain access to three Boeing C-17 planes to enable secure and rapid transport to and from operational areas. The plane has unique capabilities and range. It combines a high loading capacity with an ability to take off and land on short runways with poor surfaces. The plane also has a high level of protection against the threats that may exist in an area of military operations.
The Government decided on 19 October 2006 that Sweden would join the negotiations and register a flying time requirement of 550 flying hours per year. The cost of the Swedish share of flying time over a 25 to 30 year period is currently estimated at a maximum of SEK 200 million per year.
The countries that have participated in the negotiations are Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the United States.
Every participating state is entitled to use the planes for its own needs in national and international military operations, but the resource can also be used to provide support to civil society and disaster relief.
Swedish participation in the arrangement is conditional on approval by the Riksdag. The arrangement will not enter into force until all participating countries have signed the agreement.