France and Sweden have expressed their desire to strengthen their defence co-operation under a new strategic partnership signed on 30 January as part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to Sweden. Anti-tank and air defence have been identified as priority areas for co-operation.
In this context, a major new step has been taken in the relationship between the two countries. On 31 January, Eric Béranger and Micael Johansson, the CEOs of MBDA and Saab, expressed their willingness to support this process in the fields of anti-tank and air defence, two capabilities identified as particularly critical for the armed forces of both countries, especially in the context of high-intensity conflicts. They signed Letters of Intent to strengthen the co-operation between their companies in these two fields, at the Business Forum organised in the presence of the highest French and Swedish authorities.
Eric Béranger CEO of MBDA, said:
“This is an exciting new step in our long-standing partnership with Saab. We are both world leaders in the anti-tank and air defence domains and we will be combining our expertise to deliver the best capabilities for the armed forces on the battlefield. The signature of these Letters of Intent is further proof that co-operation lies at the very heart of MBDA’s values.”
Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab, said:
“The closeness between Saab and MBDA is reflected in our co-operation over many years, and the deepening and broadening of that through these Letters of Intent is most welcome. Doing this here in Stockholm during the state visit by President Macron to Sweden is symbolic of how two European governments working together can facilitate industry in strengthening our collective security.”
Co-operation in the anti-tank field has resulted in an initial focus on the AKERON MP (formerly known as MMP – Missile Moyenne Portée). A first contract has been awarded to Saab and MBDA by the DGA, the French contracting entity, and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV – Försvarets Materielverk). This will enable the pooling of MBDA and Saab’s expertise in the anti-tank domain, in order to support the French and Swedish armed forces’ choice of the AKERON MP weapon system in the short term. This will also enable the implementation of a joint capability roadmap to develop new functionalities associated in particular with beyond line-of-sight firing, and also to prepare the missile to address the future generation of targets that will arrive on the battlefield. This roadmap will maintain AKERON MP’s position as the benchmark weapon in its field, and an indispensable tool in high-intensity conflicts.
MBDA and Saab are long-standing partners, as illustrated by their co-operation on the Meteor air-to-air missile programme and the TAURUS cruise missile, as well as in the European MarsEUs consortium that aims to provide a sovereign European beyond line-of-sight missile firing capability.