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Swedish FCAS involvement ‘in hibernation', says Saab CEO

A model of the Tempest future fighter displayed at the Farnborough Airshow 2022. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Sweden's participation in the UK-led Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is effectively on hiatus, with Saab's President and CEO Micael Johansson saying on 26 August that the country is in “a hibernation period” on the multinational project.

Speaking to Janes and other defence media at the company's Stockholm headquarters, Johansson said that the initial promise of the project had not so far materialised, and that Saab and Sweden were taking a back seat while they consider their own future requirements at the same time as the other FCAS partners map out the future direction of the programme.

“We are on the margins [of FCAS], and our involvement has not been as intensive as we thought it would be at first,” Johansson said, adding, “We are not out of the programme, but there has been a hibernation period for Sweden while we see how the UK, Italy, and potentially Japan set up the programme. I am not sure how this will play out.”

Sweden joined the UK and Italy on FCAS in July 2019, with the then UK Minister for Defence Procurement in the Ministry of Defence Stuart Andrew and Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for both countries to work together in developing future combat aviation technologies.

Although a part of the FCAS effort, Sweden's focus has been on developing the technologies that can be used to upgrade its fleet of domestically developed and manufactured Saab Gripen fighters. As such, the country has not yet committed to join the Tempest future fighter project that is the core element of FCAS.

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