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Sweden Reinforcing Air Surveillance With Long-Range Radars

Radar Thales InternationalIndiaAfricaSweden’s surveillance capabilities are among the most coveted assets by NATO and have been recently bolstered by a series of high-end procurements. As such, NATO appears committed to incorporate the Nordic country, despite resistance from two member states.The Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (SDMA) and French-based weapons manufacturer Thales have signed an agreement for the delivery and installation of SMART-L Multi-Mission Fixed long-range radars.Given the system’s remote detection capabilities and a range of up to 2,000 kilometers, this move has been touted as a contribution to Swedish airspace sovereignty and is expected to provide «superior situational awareness at all times.» It is also pitched as a significant increase in Swedish air surveillance and an extension of the Nordic nation’s capabilities in ballistic missile detection and space domains, enhancing early detection.The system is already in use in both land and naval versions in other countries, including France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark. Its main selling points include its digital architecture, an active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna and easy upgradability during the entire lifespan.Located and used away from the frontlines, long-range radars are critical assets for gaining and maintaining airspace sovereignty. Designed to actively detect and track multiple targets at long ranges, they continuously monitor the location of both friendly and enemy aerial systems.Sweden’s surveillance capabilities will be enhanced further as the country has placed orders on two advanced GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, which are seen as more capable than the aging E-3A AWACS planes NATO currently uses to monitor European airspace.

Spying Swedes: Stockholm’s Role in Surveillance

Sweden’s role in surveillance and intelligence gathering has often been touted as the Nordic country’s future contribution to NATO, alongside its submarine fleet in the Baltic, should its ambition to enter the alliance finally be granted. So far, it has been slowed down by the resistance of Turkiye, which demands a crackdown on what it sees as aiding and abetting Kurdish terrorism on Stockholm’s part and has been increasingly vexed by the series of Quran-burnings in the Nordic country. Likewise, Hungary is at odds with Stockholm over criticism of its democracy it sees as unjust.MilitaryWho Are NATO’s Biggest Spenders and How Much Bang Do They Get for Their Buck?2 July, 17:08 GMTMeanwhile, Stockholm has made no secret that the main surveillance target will be none other than Russia, as the «Russian threat» has been frequently utilized as a justification for a spate of military build-ups and budget hikes in recent years. Similarly, it has been used as a pretext for abandoning the remants of non-alignment and fully throwing its weight behind NATO, citing a changed security picture following the start of the military operation in Ukraine.

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