After Russia Military Threat, Sweden and U.S. Hold Massive Missile Drills

The Kustrobotbatteri 90 launcher is capable of firing Saab Robotsystem 15 (RBS-15) anti-ship missiles from the shore.

Sweden, one of Europe’s last remaining neutral militaries, will host U.S. missile systems and a handful of troops from NATO allies in a marquee exercise this autumn.

Aurora 2017 will be Sweden’s attempt to test its own defenses against what it describes as a “larger, sophisticated opponent.” Over 19,000 Swedish troops will take part across the country, joined by forces from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Lithuania, Norway and the U.S. All but Finland, also nonaligned, are members of NATO.

“They haven’t done something like this in 25, 30 years,” U.S. Army in Europe’s Ben Hodges told Pentagon newspaper Stars and Stripes on Thursday. He confirmed the U.S. will deploy a Patriot missile battery, helicopters and a National Guard tank company to the Scandinavian country for Aurora 2017.

U.S. Patriot Missile Battery.

Concerned by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military reinforcement, Poland has already agreed to purchase the Patriot system, while Lithuania has called on the U.S. to deploy a battery on its turf.

“Deterrence lies at the core of a strong defense, one that rises to all threats and overcomes all challenges,” the Swedish armed forces’ description of the September drill reads. “It is designed to deter potential attackers, and force them to carefully consider the risks of attacking our country.”

Running in parallel is a major Russian drill on the other side of the Baltic Sea, which nearby Lithuania has already condemned as a “simulating an attack” on NATO. Concern of a clash with Russia has run high in Europe’s northeast, where neutral states or U.S. allies share the most considerable borders with Russia.

Aurora will take place across Sweden, including the solitary island of Gotland, which was demilitarized after the Soviet Union’s collapse and which Sweden has more recently rearmed in a symbolic indicator of Stockholm’s concerns over current Russian foreign policy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already warned Stockholm that Russia will have to respond in some way should Sweden opt to join NATO.

Source: Newsweek.

2 thoughts on “After Russia Military Threat, Sweden and U.S. Hold Massive Missile Drills”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s