15:06 Nov. 22, 2016
Sweden steps up its defense capabilities by bringing to Gotland island the Saab Robotsystem 15 (RBS-15) anti-ship missiles
Sweden returns to service the old Cold War era anti-ship defense system, reports The Local. It plans to install RBS-15 anti-ship missiles at Gotland island in the Baltic sea, located halfway between Sweden and Latvia in the middle of the Baltic sea and could become a crucial part of defense in the event of a possible conflict in the region.
To bring back the RBS-15 missiles, Sweden had to pull back Scania launch trucks out of museums. They were upgraded with components from existing missile boats and warships. The Local cites Rear Admiral Thomas Engevall's interview to Dagens Nyheter newspaper, where he said: "This decision is national, but it is also a contribution by Sweden to the international defense capability in the Baltic Sea after Russia's annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Ukraine."
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"If you group together these kinds of systems on Gotland, you can control quite a lot of territory in the mid-Baltic. I do not think Sweden is a primary goal for Russia," he added. "But we would still be involved in any conflict in the Baltic Sea area related to EU countries."
The restored system is now being tested on Sweden's east coast.
On September 14, 2016, Sweden's Supreme Commander has ordered 150 soldiers currently training on the island of Gotland to stay put.
"External factors in the world have deteriorated over time and it means I have made a decision about a permanent presence and that we station the battle group here earlier," the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Micael Bydén, told broadcaster SVT, which first broke the news.
He stressed that Sweden is not believed to be under immediate threat, but that security and the political situation in its surrounding area have changed in the past few years.