JED - March 2009 - (Page 32)

Europe’s northern states rely on EW to multiply their forces By Marianne Kunkel and John Knowles For decades, Europe’s northern states, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, have been important players in the global electronic warfare (EW) market – well out of proportion to their size. Home to less than 25 million people, with fewer than 120,000 active duty soldiers between them, these Nordic countries have managed to build modern defense forces that employ a complete range of advanced EW capabilities. The region also is home to some of the leading EW companies in the global market. This month, JED is taking a closer look at what makes the Nordic region such an important player in the EW market. THE ELUSIVE NORDIC DEFENSE ALLIANCE Shortly after World War II, the governments of the Nordic region were widely expected to create a strong defense alliance. These plans were soon overtaken by events, however, as the Cold War emerged and Europe found itself on the front line facing the Soviet Union. When NATO was established to counter the Soviet threat, it satisfied many of the regional security needs for Norway and Denmark. While Sweden and Finland have remained outside NATO, defense trade relationships with Europe and the United States have been strong. In the post-Cold War era, the governments in the region have seen another opportunity to forge a Nordic defense alliance. NATO aside, this is not without its challenges. Perhaps the most important hurdle is the differing security objectives of the various governments within the region. Norway and Finland, for example, are strongly focused on territorial defense. Norway must monitor a 2,500-km coastline that extends from the Olsofjord in the south to the Barents Sea in the north. Finland shares a 1,300-km border with Russia, which it is keen to monitor and protect. Over the past decade, Sweden has been tailoring its military into more of an expeditionary force to support out-ofcountry peacekeeping missions. Denmark already has done the same. Despite these differences, the push toward a Nordic defense alliance continues. Last month, a prominent Norwegian politician (the former minister of defense and of foreign affairs) made headlines in the region when he proposed a Nordic alliance aimed at protecting the region’s interests in the arctic. The proposed alliance also would participate in other major military operations and peacekeeping missions outside the region. Another interesting development was the establishment of the Swedish-led Nordic Battle Group in 2008, which comprises 2,800 soldiers. This is one of 18 European Union battlegroups that has been stood up over the past several years. Such developments could shape EW requirements for the region, drive greater EW spending and influence relationships with EW suppliers. BUYING WEAPONS SYSTEMS AS A BLOC While the establishment of a broad defense alliance so far has been elusive for the Nordic countries, the region has had

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - March 2009

JED - March 2009
The View From Here
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
EW Across the Nordic Region
Case Study: EW Sustainment
New Products
EW 101
AOC News
JED Sales Offices
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - March 2009