Sweden is beginning to study its options for fielding modern fleets of tactical transports and advanced trainers within the next decade, air force chief of staff Maj Gen Micael Bydén says.
“Today we have eight [Lockheed Martin] C-130Hs, but their availability is going down,” Bydén says. Commenting on potential replacement candidates, he says: “The [Embraer] KC-390 could be good, but we are pleased with the C-130s we have.” He also points to the service’s close working relationship with the air forces of Denmark and Norway, both of which operate the new-generation C-130J.
Bydén says the air force would like to retain the capability currently provided using one C-130H adapted for use as an aerial refuelling asset, due to its value in supporting the training of its Saab Gripen pilots. “The aim would be to have some [refuelling] capability, but it wouldn’t be a big tanker fleet,” he adds.
Swedish air force
It is unclear when a new transport project could be launched, but Bydén says the service had hoped to receive approval from Sweden’s chief of defence last year.
Speaking at Saab’s Linköping production site on 10 March, Bydén also revealed that Sweden hopes to attract other air forces to use its future pilot training facilities.
“We are trying to find ways to train with other countries,” he says. A wide range of candidate aircraft could be considered while searching for a replacement for Sweden’s current fleet of Saab 105 jets, he says, mentioning the Alenia Aermacchi M-346, BAE Systems Hawk and Pilatus PC-21. “We discuss everything,” he adds.
Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database shows the Swedish air force as having a current active inventory of 72 Saab 105s.