Sven-Olof Hökborg graduated from the Pilot Training School of the Swedish Air force in 1962. After graduation he served at different fighter wings in the Swedish Air Force.
Early on he became interested in flight safety and served as an expert assigned to the Defense Department Commission for Accident Investigations.
The general has earned academic degrees in different disciplines. In 1965 he earned a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. He later attended the University of Stockholm where he obtained a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in 1969.
After flight safety research and studies at the University of Southern California (U.S.C.), Los Angeles he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Systems Management in 1972.
During the years 1970-1973 he served as Assistant Air Attaché’ at the Swedish Embassy in Washington D.C. From 1973 to 1993 he held different key positions in Research, Development and Acquisition as well as Project Management at the Defense Materiel Administration (FMV), Headquarters in Stockholm.
In 1980 he became Director of the Aircraft Directorate and as such was responsible for R&D and acquisition of aircraft and helicopters for the Swedish Armed Forces. This included the 37 Viggen Fighter Program as well as the Gripen Fighter Program (JAS-39 Gripen). The Gripen Program is Sweden’s largest hi-tech development program ever with a total magnitude of well over several hundred billion SEK.
In 1989 he was appointed by the Swedish Government to Commander of the Air Force Materiel Command. In this position he also was responsible for the airworthiness of the Swedish Air Force. From 1994 to 1998 he served as Defense Attaché and as head of the Swedish Defense Staff in Washington, D.C.
Further, he has contributed as an expert in a number of Government Committees regarding Materiel Acquisition, Organization of Military Aircraft Industry and future Aeronautical Research in Sweden.
He has written articles in Swedish and international publications on aircraft development, space related issues, revolution in military affairs, flight safety and general aviation as well as instructional textbooks for the Swedish Air Force.
Further, from 1983 to 1986 he served as President of the Swedish Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Swedish AIAA). In 1984 he was elected to become a member of the Royal Academy of Military Sciences, Sweden.
From 1986 to 1995 he was appointed by the Swedish Government to the Board of the Aeronautical Research Institute of Sweden. He later served as a Vice Chairman of the same Board. General Hökborg also has served as Vice Chairman, Swedish Government Committee on U.S.-Swedish Defense Cooperation 1993 -1999. He has negotiated a number of cooperative agreements between Sweden and the US regarding R&D .
Since 1994, he is a member of the Board of Swedish Aviation History. In 1970 he became a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Aeronautics. He is also a member of the U.S. National Defense Industrial Association.
In 1995, General Hökborg received the Thulin Medal in Gold from the Swedish Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics for “Aeronautical Achievement of the Highest Merit.”
Further, in 1998 he received the distinction “The Program Manager of the Year”, by the Swedish Academy for Projects, for his management and leadership of the JAS-39 Gripen Program.
Over the years he has delivered a number of keynote speeches on management in general and program management in particular, as well as on aeronautical strategy for Sweden.
In 1999 he was awarded the U.S. Legion of Merit.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1998 he has been representing Saab and Gripen International in Washington D.C. He also has served as Chairman and CEO of Saab Technologies,Inc.
Further, the General has been Chairman of the Board of Saab Nyge Aero AB, Sweden. As of 2005 General Hökborg was elected Chairman of The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
The General is still an active pilot who has logged more than 6000 flight hours –in aircraft such as SAAB 35 Draken, 37 Viggen and 39 Gripen, Gulfstream GIV and a number of US and European fighter Aircraft.. His flying experience also includes crossings of the Atlantic in his own Piper Twin Comanche.
He currently resides in Vienna, Virginia (just outside Washington, D.C.).