The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, FMV, is continuously developing its operations in Vidsel in line with the rules and regulations within Natura 2000 and Swedish nature protection guidelines. This entails an important balance between the development of the future testing ground for weapons and defence systems and the preservation of biological values.
Natura 2000 is a network within the European Union, concerned with protecting areas with special biological values. This means, among other things, that companies, people and organisations are not permitted to conduct activities that may in any way interfere with biodiversity in the area.
Living side by side with the Sami
Submitting environmental reports regularly is only part of the commitment within Natura 2000 areas. The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration FMV Test Range Vidsel operates at the heart of a Natura 2000 area.
In addition to the environmental reports, FMV also conducts environmental promotion work and has recently appointed a new environmental coordinator, Linda Berg, responsible for overseeing all daily activities regarding the conservation of biodiversity.
In principle, all types of weapon systems can be tested at the Vidsel test range thanks to the size of the site and its geographical location. Even though the area has few habitants, there is still a relatively extensive reindeer industry conducted within the area of ??the test site.
“We live side by side with the Sami people and their reindeer herds. We pay great attention to the reindeer migration route, and thanks to good planning we can conduct our testing operations without disturbing either the biodiversity or the important Sami reindeer industry. After each exercise, we search the area thoroughly and remove all materials originating from our activities – so that nothing may be left in the wild”, explains Linda Berg.
Unique and exciting work every day
Next to the environmental work, there is also extensive safety work at the test site. Both the test range and the air force in Vidsel are a resource for the industry and both play a crucial role in the global development of new weapons and defence systems. Working with security is a natural feature of daily operations at Vidsel.
Almost all weapons and defence systems tested in Vidsel are equipped with lasers. When working with laser, extreme precautions are required. Linda Haraldsson is responsible for laser and weapon safety during all trial campaigns.
“What we are working with here is high technology. Today, there are lasers so powerful that they can be aimed at flying targets and destroy them. We do not work with this type of laser, but we have knowledge of it. However, the technology used here is so powerful that it would cause serious eye and skin damage in the event of an accident. That is why we prioritise extensive safety work”, explains Linda Haraldsson.
Linda prepares the entire test range from a safety perspective and has overall responsibility for all safety issues when working with laser systems and all types of weapon systems tested in Vidsel.
“No day is like the other, there is always something new to learn and this is what makes my work unique and exciting every day”, says Linda Haraldsson.