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The Swedes buy US and make fun of the European helicopter

Sweden has decided not to buy European but rather American to renew part of its fleet of helicopters dedicated mainly to Search and Rescue or EvaSan operations (medical evacuations). The market concerns 15 machines for a total cost of around half a billion euros. Eurocopter's offer with its Cougar EC-725 helicopter was rejected in favor of the American offer which offered its Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk. Official reason for this choice: the cost and the lower risk taking, it is said in Stockholm which prefers to lead the “ final negotiation only with the Americans ».

Cooperation according to Stockholm: buy American, cooperate European

A hard blow for the European manufacturer which had made a notable effort to align itself with the American competitor. But also an attitude that is surprising to say the least from the country of Ingmar Bergman. For several months, Sweden has wanted to be the good student, demanding greater European integration. Did it not recently sign a paper with Germany on “pooling and sharing” recommending the strengthening of European capabilities cooperation? Let us also point out that it is a Swedish general who chairs the EU Military Committee (while one of its ambassadors has been appointed to chair the Political and Security Committee or COPS).

Community preference becomes necessary again

If we follow this path, the Swedish conception of " pooling and sharing » will consist of managing American stocks. And the European defense industry will be nothing more than a vague memory. The budgetary restrictions currently taking place in Europe have already eroded their natural basis for development. By giving the first product to already existing products on the market, with the sole ratio of the lowest immediate cost, the Europeans are shooting themselves in the foot. Because between an American who produces thousands of copies and Europeans who produce hundreds at most, there is no comparison. The first (which benefits from the benefit of “off-the-shelf purchase”) will always be cheaper than the second, from a strict financial point of view. And “made in Europe” (I’m not even talking about made in France) is doomed, if the Europeans do not quickly put in place a “community preference”. Especially since a defense industry is not only production and jobs, it is also know-how and strategic autonomy. Relying on the Americans for products means giving up, a little more, autonomy of action.

(photo credit: Sikorsky)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

2 thoughts on “The Swedes buy US and make fun of the European helicopter"

  • starshiy

    We have to give a sort of blank check for support for the export of the Gripen… stuffed with US technologies…

  • No but come on

    They are not the only ones.. what to think of the choice of the JSF35 by the Batavians who prefer to reduce their order because of the clearly prohibitive cost of this plane today instead of choosing a less expensive European plane (Typhoon, Burst, Swedish JAS) ???
    The competition between the USA and Europe is already difficult from a budgetary point of view, but without a preferentially European choice, European defense will only remain a vague hope.

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