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Air Force Cutbacks

Published onsdag 26 april 2006 kl 11.24

The Swedish government has suddenly cancelled plans to take part in international air force exercises because Israel will also be participating.

The exercises take place in Italy in two weeks. The goal is to train for future international peacekeeping missions.

But the Swedish Foreign Ministry says given the political situation in the Middle East, it is unlikely that Israel would take part in actual peacekeeping missions of this type.

Facing budget cutbacks, the Swedish Air Force wants to get rid of more than a third of its expensive Gripen fighters. Unless they can be sold abroad, up to 70 of the controversial warplanes will be scrapped.

The newspaper “Svenska Dagbladet” says they cost the taxpayers more than two and half billion dollars.

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