A sensational Wikileaks disclosure has revealed that Sweden Armed Forces wanted to use the Afghanistan war to market their fighter jets across the world.
According to a Wikileaks cable, some of the member countries of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, used the war to demonstrate the capabilities of their high-tech weapons and fighter aircraft.
Wikileaks has published a confidential cable by the US Ambassador to Sweden, Robert Silverman, to the NATO forces in Afghanistan asking them to urge Sweden to contribute more to the US-led war against the Jihadist organisation in Afghanistan.
In his classified letter, Charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Sweden, Robert Silverman, wrote to the NATO forces in Afghanistan asking them to put pressure on Sweden to provide more to its ISAF operation in Afghanistan with additional manpower and resources, possibly including medevac helicopters, JAS Gripen fighters, and Operational Mentor and Liaison (OMLT) teams.
“Sweden makes a substantial contribution to ISAF efforts in Afghanistan, leading the PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif with 365 Swedish troops. Noting shortfalls in ISAF contributions from NATO allies (ref A), we should ask the Swedes, the leading NATO Partner for Cooperation, what additional contributions they may be able to make in Afghanistan,” the Wikileaks cable said.
Citing the statements from Sweden’s Armed Forces, the US acting Ambassador to Sweden further pitches for the deployment of Swedish weapons and aircraft for a possible role in operations and suggests that Sweden could possibly deploy its other potential assets such as newly acquired HKP 10 Super Puma Medevac Helicopter or JAS Gripen fighters in Afghanistan.
Robert Silverman argued that Sweden’s Armed Forces has publicly suggested sending JAS Gripen fighter aircraft to Afghanistan, thus revealing that the Swedish military lobbied for the deployment for a possible combat experience, which could be good for the Swedish Air Force to market the Gripen fighter aircraft.
Essentially, Robert Silverman was hinting that Swedish Air Force wanted utilise the Afghan war to demonstrate its fighter aircraft Saab JAS 39 Gripen, a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab AB. As “combat experience” for any military platform enhances the marketability of the product, Sweden intended to use the Afghan wars to further their economic interest.
As the terror groups operating in Afghanistan do not have any Air Force, the question of air-to-air combat did not arise, and the “combat experience” that the Sweden Air Forces was referring to essentially meant surgical strikes operations against the Jihadi outfits.