Sweden’s geopolitical situation at the Baltic Sea has been a major factor for several hundred years regarding the importance of maintaining an independent Swedish defence industry. There has been a political will to maintain a strong independent defence and to maintain security for the country’s inhabitants. But political ambitions alone are not enough. Sweden also has an unusually strong combination of good access to raw materials, first-rate engineering knowhow and motivated entrepreneurs, resulting in a defence and security industry of world class.
Saab came about during the 1930s under the threat of a new world war. In the neutral Sweden, politicians wanted to create an air force based on domestic industry. It was clear that aviation was the future. Prime Minister Per-Albin Hansson declared in a speech in 1936 that “our country should manufacture its own weapons as much as possible. We have good shipyards and armouries but we have no production in the country for warplanes.”
Saab was founded on 2 April 1937 to develop and manufacture combat aircraft. The Swedish Air Force was built up during the Cold War with products from Saab, and became one of the world’s largest. Planes such as the Draken, Viggen and Gripen represent some of Sweden’s largest industrial initiatives through history and have led to pioneering technological developments in several fields, not the least in the IT sector.
A large portion of the Swedish defence and security industry’s history is associated with today’s Saab. With the acquisitions of companies such as Bofors and Kockums, Saab has gained a heritage that can be traced back to the 1600s. As early as the reign of King Karl XI during the country’s years as a major power, Sweden’s most specialised vessels were launched at the naval yard in Karlskrona, and the same is true today with the construction of the next generation of submarines. In the manufacturing district of Bofors at the close of the 1800s, Alfred Nobel began world-leading production of artillery and gunpowder. More than 100 years later, this is where antiaircraft weapons systems and antitank weapons are developed for future needs.
Saab is now one of the world’s leading companies in the defence and security industry with more than 15,000 employees. The orientation is to the future with an open mind to new innovations and a passion for discovering smart solutions to complex problems. The aim is to develop, adapt and improve high-tech products and advanced system solutions for customers in a global market, both for military and civilian applications.
Saab is primarily associated with the manufacture of combat aircraft and submarines, but the company does much more. Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions for all branches of the military – the army, air force and navy. There is also a major focus on civilian surveillance systems for harbours and airports, for example, and Saab can count the development of remote-controlled air traffic control towers among its achievements.
Companies in the defence and security industry always strive to create confidence and to establish long-term business relationships, and Saab has many years of success in achieving these goals. The company has extensive experience from working in an ever-changing world and understands the necessity of keeping up with the times, standing ready to meet new problems and threats.
The goal is to keep people and society safe and secure. Feeling safe and secure is a basic need, and Saab’s vision is for everyone to enjoy this right.