VIDSEL, Sweden --- Tuesday, November 5, 2019 will go to the history books for Swedish air defense. In the morning of this cloudless, early winter day, a ground-based Robot 98 shot towards the sky for the first time on Swedish soil. A firing carried out at the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration's (FMV) test site in Vidsel, in northern Sweden.
“It is wonderful that we have now passed another important milestone in our work on developing the air defense with new capabilities that will increase operational effectiveness,” said the deputy commander of the Air Defense Regiment, Lt. Col. Thomas Wessman, who followed the firing with great excitement.
A few miles away from the command center, the equally historic shooter breathes out after the excitement of carrying out the well-practiced routine in the simulator for the air defense's main task, fighting air targets. The target to be engaged in this case is one of FMV's unmanned targets.
“Great fun to be the first shooter to fire a Robot 98 on Swedish soil. At the same time, for me and my colleagues, this is an end to many years of work in introducing the system into the operations of the air defense regiment. The circle is now closed but the work continues,” says the shooter as he fired with a big smile.
The FMV test site in Vidsel has for many years been the place for air defense firings of leading-edge missile systems. Among other things, Robot System 97 (Hawk) has been fired on this very extensive range in Lapland.
Thus, a new era of test firings has begun, as Missile 98 will in future be increasingly shot from individual launchers.
“When we visit FMV here in Vidsel, we get invaluable information from all the test systems and instruments that FMV has available. Information that we use in our continued development work,” says the Air Defence Regiment's project manager for the introduction of the new system, Major Joakim Olsson.
As large parts of the test work are not public information, Major Olsson is quite brief in his summary of the shooting day's results.
"There is still some work to do with the verification, but we are already convinced that this is a very competent system that provides a significantly increased operational capability," says Joakim Olsson.