Established in 1646

Information & History

In English & Swedish

Bofors AB was a Swedish arms producing organization. The name has been related with the iron business and ordnance fabricating for more than 350 years. (“AB”, is the Swedish abbreviation for limited company, “aktiebolag”.)

Situated in Karlskoga, Sweden, the organization’s history begins with the hammering trip hammer mill “Boofors”, which was established as a royal state-owned company in 1646. The advanced corporate structure was made in 1873 with the establishment of Aktiebolaget (AB) Bofors-Gullspång. A main Swedish steel maker by the mid 1870s, Bofors ventured into weapons make when steel delivered by the Siemens-Martin process started to be utilized for gun production. The organization’s first gun workshop was opened in 1884.

Bofors’ most acclaimed proprietor was Alfred Nobel, who claimed the organization from 1894 until his demise in December 1896. Nobel assumed the key part in reshaping the previous iron and steel maker to a current gun producer and substance industry participant. The powder producer AB Bofors Nobelkrut, later an explosives and general natural compound maker, was made in 1898 as an entirely possessed backup. By 1911, AB Bofors-Gullspång had outcompeted, purchased and shut down its Finspång Swedish rival in cannon manufacturing. The organization’s name was abbreviated to AB Bofors in 1919.

Saab Bofors Dynamics

Saab Bofors Dynamics, was a member of the Saab group which is one of the world’s leading high-technology enterprises, with its main operations focusing on defence, aviation and space.
Saab Bofors Dynamics specialized in the development of defence technologies that result in high-quality and reliable defence systems for armies, navies and air forces.
By integrating its long-standing tradition of excellence with continued advances in technologies Saab Bofors Dynamics constantly provided missile, infantry, naval and underwater systems that meed the stringent requirements of its customers worldwide.

Contact information for Saab Dynamics Headquarters Karlskoga (external page)

Bofors headquarters today

Ownership history

Swedish defence industry group Celsius AB acquired Bofors AB from Nobel Industrier

Saab AB purchased the Celsius Group, then the parent company of Bofors

United Defense Industries acquired Bofors Weapons Systems

BAE Systems acquired United Defense Industries and its Bofors subsidiary

Bofors entrance

Bofors Defence

Bofors Defence was a Swedish defence systems company totally owned by United Defence (now a part of BAE Systems). This made it strong on both the Swedish and international markets as well as providing a transatlantic technology link for future advanced systems. Apart from the company’s end-to-end competence Bofors Defence’s ambition was to be the global leader in intelligent ammunition and in many other areas of technologies.

Bofors Defence had a wide range of products that include mission-assigned systems for precision response as well as protection systems, ammunition and launchers.

Bofors Defence had one mission: To develop advanced defence materiel for the Swedish Defence Forces, alone or in collaboration with other high-tech companies, as well as supplying the home and international markets with quality-designed defence systems that were reliable in all levels of conflict and in all environments. All activities were strictly governed by Swedish legislation.

From having previously been a manufacturing company with its own development department it had entered a new phase. After a 5-year period of restructuring it was in 2001 a company completely engaged in development and qualified assembly, without any production capacity. Bofors Defence was wholly owned by United Defense and has a workforce of about 550 of which more than 50% are directly involved in R&D.

In the area of R&D modelling and simulating activities were continuously increasing. The Logistics and Assembly Operations Dept. was responsible for final assembly and final testing of those systems that were ready for delivery. The Marketing Dept and Customer Support with worldwide operations were jointly responsibility for incomes and proceeds. All information processing, strategic planning, quality and financing were treated as special functions.

Bofors Defence had a systems portfolio that was “already adapted to tomorrow’s precision response philosophy” and included:

  • Artillery Systems
  • Land-based and naval applications
  • Air defence gun systems for land and sea
  • Platform mounted launch systems
  • Smart ammunition for all its systems

Contact information for BAE Systems Sweden (external page)

Bofors AB

Bofors AB consisted of the parent company with four divisions, several Swedish subsidiary companies as well as sales companies and representatives in some 40 countries throughout the world.

The Bofors business concept was to develop, manufacture, market and maintain advanced defence materiel for the Swedish Defence Forces and the international market and apply its technologies to other projects within its sphere of competence.

The company was active within the areas of anti-armour, air defence, artillery systems, naval weapons, including underwater systems, as well as fighting vehicles, smart ammunition, propellants, explosives and ammunition demilitarisation. At Bofors there was also the competence required for system integration at all levels. Several of Bofors units were engaged in international joint ventures.

The Bofors Group had about 4300 employees and invoicing was in the region of SEK 4.2 billion, with a backlog of orders of approximately SEK 9.3 billion in the end of the 1990s.

Bofors Anti Armour Systems

The Bofors Anti Armour Systems Division developed and manufactured lightweight, man-portable, direct fire anti-armour weapons.

The continuous development of recoilless weapons and shaped charges for more than 50 years had given the division a level of competence that was internationally recognised.

The Carl-Gustaf multi-purpose weapon with its family of ammunition and training system, etc. and the AT4 light anti armour weapon and AT4 CS are known world-wide. All these systems are constantly modernised.

Number of employees approx 650 (1997).

Former address: Bofors Anti Armour Systems,S- 691 80 KARLSKOGA, SWEDEN
Tel: +46-586-810 00, Fax: +46-586-857 00

Bofors Weapon Systems

The Weapon Systems Division developed and manufactured artillery, air defence and naval gun systems, turret and main armament for fighting vehicles and pertaining ammunition.

The 40 mm CV 90 turret, the STRIX anti-armour projectile were in series production for the Swedish Army. For combating most threats there is the 40 mm 3P six-mode programmable round. The 155 BONUS artillery-launched carrier shell with two smart sub-munitions for destroying tanks at long range was an important project. The Mine-Guzzler demining vehicle were ready for series production. And studies were well underway of the unique SPA (self-propelled artillery) project and TCM (trajectory correctable munition).

Number of employees approx 950 (1997).

Former address: Bofors Weapon Systems, S-691 80 KARLSKOGA, SWEDEN
Tel: +46-586-810 00, Fax: +46-586-857 00

Bofors Missiles

The Missiles Division developed and manufactured air defence and anti-armour missile systems.

Several decades of continuous development gave the division its high level of competence, not least within the area of electronics. The world-renowned air defence missile systems, RBS 70 and RBS 90 as well as the BILL ATGW were products of Bofors Missiles. The BAMSE all-weather MSAM was the division’s most important development project.

Bofors Missiles also participated in international joint ventures with, for instance DASA-LFK regarding the TAURUS family of autonomous stand-off missiles.

Number of employees approx 630 (1997).

Former address: Bofors Missiles, S-691 80 KARLSKOGA, SWEDEN
Tel: +46-586-810 00, Fax: +46-586-853 90

Bofors Underwater Systems AB

Bofors Underwater Systems developed and manufactured remotely controlled torpedoes, homing torpedoes, fire controls and seamines.

The first series orders were expected in 1997 for Torpedo 2000, a heavyweight torpedo for use against submarines and surface vessels. Development was underway on the new ASW torpedo system Torpedo 90 (project name).


SUTEC, an independent unit of Bofors Underwater Systems, produced remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) for military use and the off-shore industry.

SA Marine

SA Marine, a subsidiary company, developed and manufactured seamines and mine countermeasures.

Number of employees approx 390 (1997).

Former address: Bofors Underwater Systems AB, Box 910, S-591 29 MOTALA, SWEDEN
Tel: +46-141-22 45 00, Fax: +46-141-21 11 79

Bofors Carl Gustaf AB

Small calibre weapons and ammunition have been the mainstay of the company for almost 200 years. In 1997, the company developed, manufactured and maintained military small arms and ammunition, hunting rifles and produced small caliber anti-armour ammunition. The Carl-Gustaf (Ak5) assault rifle with its ammunition was the company’s main product. To meet future requirements the CG A5 assault rifle had been developed in short, basic and heavy variants. Among the products under development was the CG 40 an advanced lightweight, grenade launcher.

Winscan AB

Winscan AB was a wholly owned subsidiary that marketed hunting rifles and ammunition.

Number of employees approx 300 (1997).

Former address: Bofors Carl Gustaf AB, Box 613, S-631 08 ESKILSTUNA, SWEDEN
Tel: +46-16-16 90 00 Fax: +46-16-13 12 24

Bofors LIAB AB

The main areas of activities at Bofors LIAB were the manufacture of ammunition, ammunition components and the modification and conversion of older types of ammunition as well as ammunition demilitarization. The company, which had many years of experience of converting ammunition, also supplied and assisted with the installation of complete lines for ammunition renovation.

In 1997 Bofors LIAB’s commercial production in the area of vehicle safety covered about 25% of the company’s turnover.

Bofors Dynasafe AB

The subsidiary company Bofors Dynasafe AB developed and manufactured equipment for protection against explosives. Some typical products were mobile explosive containment vessels used by the police, equipment for transporting dangerous goods, explosion chambers for research institutes and ammunition destruction chambers.

Number of employees approx 350 (1997).

Former address: Bofors LIAB, Box 154, S-711 23 LINDESBERG, SWEDEN
Tel: +46-581-871 00 Fax: +46-581-61 11 96

Bofors Explosives AB

Bofors Explosives’ wide range of propellants and explosives included products for both military and commercial use. Commercial products covered about 50% of sales.

The company made great advances in the development of insensitive munitions, such as LOVA propellant and PBX. LOVA is also used in vehicle safety applications, for example in airbags.

Number of employees approx 300 (1997).

Former address: Bofors Explosives AB, S-691 86 KARLSKOGA, SWEDEN
Tel: +46-586-830 50 Fax: +46-586-853 10

Bofors Industries AB

Bofors Industries, via a number of it’s subsidiaries developed, manufactured and sold products mainly for the commercial market.

Norabel Hansson, pyrotechnics
Norabel Plast, contract plastics
SpeSab, specialised woodwork
Zakrisdalsverken, cold pressing, forming and machining of plastics

Number of employees approx 170 (1997).

Former address: Bofors Industries AB, S-691 80 KARLSKOGA, SWEDEN
Tel: +46-586-810 00, Fax: +46-586-857 12

Bofors Applied Technologies AB

Bofors Applied Technologies AB developed a high-technological sensor system based on biochemical technology, microelectronics and micro-mechanics. In effect, an artificial sniffer dog, it would have the ability to detect the presence of explosives, narcotics, etc. Its prime areas of use would be airport safety and mine detection. It would also be invaluable in assisting customs, police and security companies.

Number of employees approx 10 (1997).

Former address: Bofors Applied Technologies AB, S-691 80 KARLSKOGA, SWEDEN
Tel: +46-586-810 00, Fax: +46-586-856 20


Bofors BEPAB AB was a development company working mainly with the commercial application of explosives technology. The company had centered its activities on the development of components for use in the area of vehicle safety. Among its many developments was a pyrotechnic sensor system for side impact protection in private cars.

Number of employees approx 10 (1997).

Former address: Bofors BEPAB AB, S-691 80 KARLSKOGA, SWEDEN
Tel: +46-586-810 00, Fax: +46-586-835 67

Bofors Industrial Services

This division managed, maintained and also assisted in the care of the Bofors industrial areas at Karlskoga.

In addition, it supplied a high level of service in many areas, such as structural engineering, communications, computers, test firings and environmental testing, transport, health care, hotels, translation, publicity, security and rescue services.

Bofors Industrial Services had approximately 500 employees (1997).

Former address: Bofors Industrial Service, S-691 80 KARLSKOGA, SWEDEN
Tel 0586-810 00, Fax 0586-857 31

Experience And New Thinking

Even before the Thirty-Years-War had come to an end Bofors was manufacturing its first products. It is now 370 years old and has been manufacturing defence materiel for more than 100 years.

In 1894 Alfred Nobel acquired Bofors and started a time of new investments and modernization. The company then produced steel and guns and later propellants. In the 1930s Bofors engineers developed the gun that was to play a decisive role in World War II – the Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft gun. Since then the company has created a number of epoch-making defence systems and new systems were continuously being developed.

Today, a wide range of companies originating from Bofors are still world leading in armaments and with a great range of products. The name Bofors is still respected throughout the world and their products are noted for quality, safety and reliability.

Celsius AB

The publicly quoted Celsius Group was one of Sweden’s leading advanced-technology industrial groups, focused on defence industry operations and closely related areas of commercial technology.

The Celsius Group compriced Bofors, CelsiusTech, FFV Aerotech and Kockums. The Celsius Group with sales exceeding SEK 11 billion has some 11 000 employees (1997).


3 + 6 =

Vad har du att berätta om Bofors? Har du själv jobbat inom verksamheten eller har du berörts på annat sätt?

Använd nedanstående formulär för att skicka in dina bästa historier, minnen och anekdoter. Alla seriösa bidrag publiceras på denna webbplats.

15 + 5 =