It is well known that the US-NATO is keen to have Sweden join the Alliance by 11-12 July at the latest, when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit will take place in Lithuania, thus putting even more pressure on Putin after Finland's recent accession.
Sweden's bid to join NATO is under threat as Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan recently said that the failure of Swedish authorities to prevent the Quran-burning incident has raised questions about Sweden's credibility for possible NATO membership.
Erdogan, for his part, has strongly objected to the Scandinavian country's entry into NATO, citing alleged harboring of members of the PKK and FETO terrorist organization.
The Turkish President also ardently wants the US to sell him 40 F-16 BLOCK-70s and 79 modernisation kits to strengthen his country's air force.
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Sweden abandoned its longstanding military commitment policy and set its sights on formal ratification at the NATO summit on July 11-12. However, Turkey and Hungary have so far prevented ratification, despite strong support from other members, including the United States.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister said on 4 July that he had spoken with his Turkish counterpart about the ratification of Sweden's NATO membership and that if Turkey's position changes, Hungary will not postpone the process. Turkey, however, continues to be reluctant due to its reservations.
Despite its impeccable record of military neutrality, Sweden is a military power. Since Sweden's application for membership in the NATO alliance, experts stress that the country is "armed and ready to fight" any country that threatens its security.
Sweden is a major arms and military equipment manufacturer, despite being non-aligned and having never fought in its 150-year history. It should be noted that, at one point, the country was such a huge military empire that it dared to invade Russia to expand its influence.
The Swedish Air Force is one of the strongest in the world. The service reportedly has some 94 Gripen C/D variants developed by SAAB in service today, which it is trying to replace with the newer versions. These are helicopters, special mission aircraft and tanker aircraft.
The Swedish Air Force uses the Saab JAS 39 Gripen, a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft that is "advertised" as the best for Ukraine because of its ability to conduct dispersed operations. It is one of the most well-known and reasonably priced non-stealth aircraft in the world.
In addition to the fighter aircraft that will certainly greatly enhance NATO's collective air power against a formidable enemy in Europe, the Swedish Army is also considered a modern fighting force. It has over 121 tanks, 14,088 combat vehicles and 48 self-propelled artillery vehicles.
Although combat readiness figures may differ from actual numbers, it would nevertheless be a huge addition to the NATO force.
The Swedish Navy, although not very huge in terms of numbers, has the basic capability of modern submarines, including the Gotland class diesel-powered submarines, the first in the world to have a Stirling engine (air independent propulsion AIP), a system previously only available on nuclear submarines.
In addition to Gotland, the Blekinge class submarine is the next generation of submarines under construction. In addition to the submarines, the Swedish Navy has seven corvettes and 298 patrol vessels, according to Global Firepower Review.
The list also includes RBS 70 MANPADS, CV90 infantry fighting vehicles (also known as Stridsfordon 90 in Sweden), Leopard 2 tanks (also known as Stridsvagn 122 in Sweden) and Howitzer 155 mm Archer self-propelled howitzers. Ukraine has deployed all of these systems with considerable combat success, further demonstrating the capability of Swedish weapons.
Mind you, the country has strong defence companies including Saab, BAE Systems and its subsidiary, Bofors. Saab is a Swedish aerospace company that manufactures the Gripen fighter aircraft, one of the best fourth-generation fighter aircraft in the world today.
On the other hand, the Swedish company BAE Systems Hägglunds is a specialist in creating and improving vehicle systems for both military and commercial use. These include armoured personnel carriers, armoured engineer vehicles and combat vehicles.
The Weapons Systems division of the international defence company BAE Systems Land & Armaments, includes BAE Systems Bofors. It creates, produces, sells and supports various weapon systems, including air defence systems, artillery systems, combat vehicle turrets, weapon systems and naval weapons.
Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the Swedish government has built up its army and reorganised its defence plans.
The defence budget has been increasing annually since 2015 and will increase by 95% by 2025. In addition, the government has now promised that, it will adhere to NATO's requirement that its members contribute at least 2% of GDP to defence.
Sweden is also increasing its active army from about 55,000 to 90,000. A new mechanized brigade, Patriot aircrafts, new fast patrol boats, upgraded tanks, offensive mine laying capabilities, a new departmental command structure and enhanced defenses for the strategically important Baltic Sea island of Gotland are just a few examples of its new capabilities.
Sweden's massive Muskö underground naval facility, located south of Stockholm, was reopened in 2019. The facility was designed on a rocky islet in the 1960s to give Swedish ships underground docks where they could be repaired and improved without being attacked from the air.
If Sweden joins NATO, these facilities will give NATO forces a huge strategic advantage over Russia.
In short, Sweden's military is recruiting personnel, building facilities and acquiring modern equipment after years of austerity as the region's relations with Russia deteriorate in the face of the invasion of Ukraine.
Sweden expects to complete its application for membership as NATO's 32nd member at a NATO summit in Lithuania in July, after neighbouring Finland joined the alliance in April. With its considerable military strength, it is expected to give a huge boost to NATO forces, especially in protecting the Baltic states.
However, the "ball is still in Sweden's court" to join.... "playing in Turkey's court".