“Undisclosed country” may buy Swedish weapons for one billion euros

Published 10 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Soldiers with Swedish-made AT4 and RBS 70 weapons.

An undisclosed “state recipient” has been authorized to buy Swedish weapons systems for almost 12 billion SEK (€1.04 billion). The Swedish people are not told who the recipient is, what weapons are being exported or what they will be used for.

According to a report submitted by the agency to the Inspectorate for Strategic Products (Inspektionen för strategiska produkter, ISP) , 797 licenses for the export of Swedish military equipment were granted last year. Two of these licenses account for 40 percent of the total 28 billion SEK (€2.5 billion) in arms exports – but the public is not told who actually bought the weapons.

– We have received indications that they do not want it known who the buyer in the deal was, David Åhlén, head of the war material unit at ISP, told Bonnier-owned TV4.

– If we report this information, we risk disturbing Sweden’s international relations with the country, which means that the information is covered by foreign secrecy, he continues.

“Established partner country in the Western world”

The secret actor is only described as a “state recipient in an established partner country in the Western world” – unlike the 56 other approved buyers, who are not anonymized.

– The transparency of Swedish military exports is very high by international standards, and the reporting is quite extensive, which has long been a wish of the government. But it has to be weighed against other considerations, says Åhlén.

Exactly what weapons will be sold is also not published, but according to the broadcaster it could include “bombs, torpedoes, rockets and missiles” and “smooth-bore weapons with a caliber of at least 20 mm”.

“Step in the wrong direction”

Linda Åkerström, head of policy at Svenska Freds and an expert on arms export issues, said she had “never seen anything like this before”.

– It’s remarkable that this is happening and that it’s such a big deal… I’m worried about what this means for the future, even if the ISP insists that they are transparent, this is a step in the wrong direction.

She believes that the multi-billion dollar amount (SEK 11.7 billion) indicates that a larger and more advanced weapon system is being exported.

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