Research and development

The industry operating in Sweden has a high level of expertise in research and development, as well as in the production and industrialisation of security solutions and defence technologies.

This can be seen in comparative international and national industry statistics as well. Roughly 18 percent of the turnover was allocated to research and development. This makes the defence industry the most research-intensive industry in proportion to turnover in Sweden. It’s also extremely research-intensive in a comparative international perspective. In certain technological niches, Swedish expertise in worldclass and is extremely competitive. Future opportunities and the ability to build further on this foundation are largely determined by continued investments in research and development.

Swedish firms are increasingly searching for new markets as European and American tenders decrease. However this trend entails certain risks, since the terms for access to new markets often involve extensive technology transfers. Thus Swedish industry suffers a long-term risk of weakening its competitiveness against new defence industry players from these markets who can make rapid technological leaps without needing to invest in their own research and development. This development is only sustainable in the long term if actors in Sweden continue to develop their technological capabilities through solid research programmes connected with the future supply of current and future military capabilities. This will enable Swedish industry to retain its advantage in the areas where it is possible and demanded by the government for the national supply of defence capability.

When done right, competitive procurements in accordance with the Swedish Public Procurement Act (LoU) or Sweden’s law for the procurement of defence and security (LUFS) are an effective way to secure supplies at the required level for the lowest possible price. But under certain circumstances an excessively broad procurement can have negative consequences for product development. Therefore there may be reason to consider using innovation procurements in certain cases. Once again this is an area that would mean that a strong Swedish customer with demanding requirements would not only move his own supply chain in the right direction, but would also thereby strengthen and secure Swedish competitiveness. This is in turn a value that benefits Swedish defence capabilities in the form of a strong defence industrial base that offers proximity from a supply perspective while simultaneously serving as a competitive parameter vis a vis other suppliers.