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Cablegate: Proposed Response to Swedish Request to Release

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSM #0494/01 1911414
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 091414Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM
TO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3590
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 2480
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0293
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 3150
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0319
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO BRUSSELS BE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

S E C R E T STOCKHOLM 000494

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2018
TAGS: PARM MOPS MARR PREL ECON PGOV SW
SUBJECT: PROPOSED RESPONSE TO SWEDISH REQUEST TO RELEASE
AESA RADAR FOR GRIPEN FIGHTER PLANES

REF: A. USDAO STOCKHOLM DTG 051506ZJUN2008 B. IIR 6 982 0173
Classified By: Ambassador Michael Wood for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

Summary
-------

1. (S) Embassy Stockholm recommends we postpone a response to the Swedish request for release of AESA radar for Swedish Gripens until after Norway's selection of its next fighter jet, currently slated for December 2008. In informing Sweden of this delay, we should consider offering U.S. support for the enhanced Nordic military cooperation proposals, and also consider a SecDef visit in the fall, per GOS request. End Summary.

The Swedish Case for AESA
-------------------------

2. (S) In a June 25 meeting with the Ambassador, Minister of Defense Sten Tolgfors reviewed Sweden's arguments on the benefits to the U.S. of release of AESA radar for use on the SAAB JAS Gripen 39 fighters for the Nordic Region (refs A and B): -- AESA on Gripens would enhance NATO interoperability; -- Sweden works closely with the U.S. and NATO on security and makes important contributions through military deployments under NATO aegis in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Sweden supports a greater role for Europe in Iraq, where Sweden is opening an Embassy and recently hosted the International Compact with Iraq conference in Stockholm; -- The Gripen contains 50 percent U.S. content, including engines, avionics and weapon systems; sales of the Gripen are good for U.S. industry. AESA would increase U.S. content and enhance sales prospects; -- Sweden supports Nordic military cooperation, which moves Sweden closer to NATO.

Postponing a Response on AESA
-----------------------------

3. (S) Our original report on AESA releaseability reviewed the Swedish case (ref A). We now supplement our recommendations to call for a postponement, taking into account the potential impact on the Norway fighter jet competition. Our recommendation for postponement is based on the following three points:
-- The Swedish government has requested the granting of U.S. export licenses for Raytheon's Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar to be used on SAAB JAS Gripen 39 fighters for the Nordic Region (refs A and B), asserting that this would enhance Nordic region air coverage and interoperability. The Gripen is competing with the Lockheed Martin F35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) for a sale to Norway of 48 fighter aircraft. Norway is expected to take the decision on the Gripen vs the JSF by early December. The Gripen is also competing with the JSF and Boeing's F-18 for a later sale to Denmark of an additional 48 fighters. Swedish officials and SAAB want AESA radar in time to make the Gripen more competitive. Swedish officials tell us they anticipate a decision from Washington on AESA releaseability by September 2008.
-- Given this potential impact of AESA releaseability on the Norway competition, and possibly the Denmark competition, we suggest postponing the decision on AESA releaseability for the Gripen until after Norway's decision in December. We futher recommend informing the Swedes of this delay in advance. This recommendation supplements ref A assessment of releaseability. -- If this course is chosen, we should also explore doing something else for Sweden to demonstrate our bilateral engagement and support for Nordic cooperation, while informing them of the delay. We recommend exploring offers to support aspects of the Sweden's proposals for enhanced Nordic cooperation. This is politically and economically important to all the Nordic and especially to Sweden. It is likely that many of the approximately 140 recommendations for Nordic cooperation would benefit from U.S. support and be in our interest. We propose also a favorable response to ref B request for a visit to Sweden by Secretary of Defense Gates in fall 2008. WOOD

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