International cooperation

The defence industrial base in Sweden has undergone a major transformation during the last two decades. New corporate structures and international co-operations have evolved as a result of economic necessity and political intent worldwide. This global trend has also had far-reaching consequences for the Swedish defence industry. There have been institutional changes facilitating internationalisation and cross border co-operation but also a clear political demand on the industry to consolidate its resources domestically and co-operate internationally. During the last ten years the Swedish security and defence industry has been subject to extensive restructuring actions which have resulted in a substantial foreign ownership.


The Association of Swedish Security and Defence Industry is a member of ASD (AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe).
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The organisation represents the aeronautics, space, defence and security industries in Europe in all matters of common interest with the objective of promoting and supporting the competitive development of the sector. It pursues joint industry actions which need to be dealt with on a European level or which concern issues of transnational nature.

ASD has 28 member associations in 20 countries across Europe and represents over 2000 companies with a further 80 000 suppliers of which many are SMEs. The industry sectors employ around 638 000 people with a turnover of over €170 billion.

The Baltic Defence Industry Associations who are a part of ASD:

Six-Nation Initiative – Letter of Intent (LoI)

In July 2000, the six large defence industry nations in Europe – the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden – signed an important defence industry co-operation agreement on government level the Framework Agreement. This agreement was a result of the Letter of Intent (LoI), the Six-Nation Initiative, adopted by the countries’ defence ministers in 1998. The purpose of the agreement is to facilitate restructuring and operation of the European defence industry. The areas covered are security of supply, export procedures, security of information, research and technology, treatment of technical information and harmonisation of military equipment requirements.

European Defence Agency (EDA)

On July 12, 2004, the EU Council of Ministers decided to establish the European Defence Agency (EDA). Twenty-six EU Member States participate in EDA – all EU members except Denmark. Together they form the Agency’s ‘shareholders’: they sit on the EDA’s Steering Board; they pay the annual budget; their national experts participate in EDA activities; and the results the EDA delivers are for their benefit. The Agency falls under the authority of the Council, to which it reports and from which it receives guidelines once per year. The Steering Board, composed of the participating Member States’ Defence Ministers plus a representative from the Commission (without voting rights), is EDA’s governing body. It represents the decision-making level in the capitals. Each year, at least two Ministerial Steering Board meetings take place, plus several at sub-ministerial level: Capability Directors; National Armaments Directors and R&T Directors. The Ministerial Steering Board is chaired by the Head of the Agency, Ms. Catherine Ashton, and it usually takes place in Brussels, normally back-to-back with the half-yearly meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council in Defence Ministers’ formation.

Sweden participates in EDA, which has the following main tasks:
• To support the member nations’ efforts to develop the Common Security
and Defence Policy (CSDP),
• To propose and support European collaborative projects,
• To reinforce the defence technology and industrial base with a view to create
an international competitive European market for military equipment,
• To promote co-operation and efficiency in European defence research, development and

EDA has a board consisting of the defence ministers of each participating member state and a representative of the EU Commission. The board is EDA’s decision-making body. Unlike most international organisations involved in defence co-operation, decisions are made by qualified majority. Votes are counted in the same way as in corresponding systems in the EU.
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In 1994, the Ministers of Defence of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden agreed to a closer co-operation within armaments development and procurement. On December 2, a Framework Agreement was signed by the ministers.

An updated Framework Agreement from November 7, 2000 further allowed bilateral activities in the field of defence materiel to be covered by the NORDAC complex of directives. The Framework Agreement identifies the aim of the co-operation: To achieve financial, technical and/or industrial benefits for all four countries within the field of defence materiel. This is achieved through transparent and mutual exchange of information on planned national procurement in order to identify and exploit possibilities for common development, procurement, maintenance etc.

To fulfill this aim, a Co-operation Agreement was signed by the Chiefs of Defence on February 15, 2001. In order to further facilitate the co-operation a Security Agreement defining and regulating the security aspects of the co-operation between the countries was signed on September 1, 1995. These three agreements then constituted the framework of the Nordic Armaments Co-operation.

Nordic defence cooperation is, after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding from 2009, known as NORDEFCO (Nordic Defence Co-operation). It includes all Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. One of the strengths with NORDEFCO is its flexible format, making it possible for the participants to choose in which projects to participate. This means that much of the cooperation is as likely to be carried out bi-or trilaterally.

In addition the Nordic Defence Industry Associations signed a MoU in November 2012 with the intention to support the Nordic armed forces in developing and sustaining military capabilities in those areas where the Nordic defence industry has state-of-the-art technology and competence.

NATO/NIAG Co-operation

The association represents the Swedish Security and Defence Industry in NIAG/PfP (NATO Industrial Advisory Group/Partnership for Peace).

The Transatlantic Link Sweden has, since many years, established a close and fruitful co-operation with the USA. US technology constitutes the basis in many Swedish products, especially within the aerospace industry. The US market is extremely important to numerous Swedish companies who are key suppliers to the US.

SOFF and the US counterpart NDIA have a close co-operation including industrial seminars covering important European and Transatlantic issues. These seminars are normally arranged in co-operation with the US and the Swedish Governments under the bilateral MoU between Sweden and the US.