Facing the Future

The Swedish Air Force, 1990-2005

by Richard Bitzinger


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This report examines the current and future state of the Swedish Air Force (SwAF) as it embarks on a major modernization program and the implications that this has or may have for Swedish defense and Western security interests. The SwAF is currently one of the largest air forces in Western Europe and should remain a considerable and capable force into the 21st century, despite continuing defense budgetary constraints. It will not be able to compensate fully for the decline in Sweden's other military services, however, creating the risk that Sweden's defenses could become a hollow shell. Sweden could find itself increasingly dependent upon its assumptions of an indirect U.S. security guarantee, which in the absence of a formal defense agreement is an unreliable basis for national security.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors, the fees earned on client-funded research, and independent research and development (IR&D) funds provided by the Department of Defense.

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