Sweden will contribute eight Gripen fighter jets and one mine-hunting boat next year to NATO’s Response Force, the alliance’s most elite military unit, news agency TT reports.

Sweden deepen its cooperation earlier this fall with the military alliance’s reserve force and the Swedish government decided on Thursday to make available eight JAS 39 Gripen planes, which includes a crew of 120 men, and one boat to sweep for mines.

“They will remain in Sweden, but they will be ready,” said Defense Minister Karin Enström. “They are sufficiently well-trained so that they are up-to-date.”

The main reason for Sweden’s contribution is so the country can take part in advanced exercises by NATO. At least one major exercise is planned for next year and Enström says participating will “strengthen our defense capabilities.”

The NATO Response Force is a multinational force that acts as a stand-alone unit for rapid deployment to support NATO missions as needed.

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