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JAS Gripen a top defence priority

Pricey jet investment draws criticism

Published fredag 27 juli 2012 kl 18.11
Photo: Johan Nilsson / Scanpix

A new generation of JAS Gripen fighter jets could cost more than expected and push back other military investments, Swedish Radio News reports.

The reports have prompted criticism from some of the opposition parties, who think threat levels do not justify spending billions of dollars on new jet models.

Saab, the maker of Gripen jets, has said the centre-right government's plan to buy at least 60 jets of the new model will cost around US$ 5 billion.

But Swedish Radio's sources said the price could end up being around ten percent higher.

"The big question is what we need them for, because the threat levels do not demand investments of this size," said Peter Rådberg, the Green Party's representative in the parliamentary committee on defence.

"There needs to be an upgrade if we are to have an operational and relevant jet fighter system in the 2020's and towards 2030," said the lieutenant general Jan Salestrand, adding that though it is needed, the new purchase cannot come at any price.

On Monday, the Swedish Army will announce which other defence projects may need to be pushed back as a result of the investment in new fighter jets.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.

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