The Swedish government doesn’t plan to join NATO, the Swedish ambassador to the United States said Wednesday. But the country’s membership isn’t needed for cooperation with the alliance, Bjorn Lyrvall said at the ComDef conference in Washington D.C. The Nordic nation has recently expanded its relationship with NATO and the United States in the face of increased Russian aggression in the region. In June, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Swedish Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist signed a statement of intent to increase military cooperation and joint weapons development in response to the increasing security challenges. During a separate panel discussion at the conference, the director general of Sweden’s defense research agency, Jan-Olof Lind, said he met with Stephen Welby, assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering, Tuesday to discuss the development of Third Offset technologies and hopes Swedish research will contribute to the effort that will be of “mutual benefit to both of us.” (See also: Friends of the Club.)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.