Sweden to buy new wave of fighter planes
Sweden is to buy between 40 and 60 new Jas Gripen fighter jets, as part of a deal with Switzerland, the centre-right coalition writes in an op-ed piece in daily Svenska Dagbladet Saturday. The planes are "Super Jas Gripen" fighters, a new model of the Jas Gripen, which is already in service.
The deal has been in the works for a while, but the government has now promised to increase the defence budget to enable the purchase of the planes, which are hoped to come into service by 2023.
Switzerland will also buy 22 of the Gripen fighters, this will make development of the plane more cost-effective with two customers, the government writes.
The partnership will include pilot training for both nations, as well as costs for maintenance and future development.
The fact that Switzerland is involved will also cut costs for the Swedish military, the government writes. There had been fears that other parts of the military would have to make savings to make development of the new plane possible.
Over one hundred thousand people will be employed in the development of the new plane, the government claims.
Some opposition politicians are critical that they have not yet been informed of the total costs of the project, but Defence Minister Karin Enström said at a press conference Saturday that there have been informal talks with the largest opposition party, the Social Democrats, and that there is "agreement". Any decision to buy the planes would have to go through the Swedish parliament first.