Defense minister calls for more fighter jets to counter Russian threat

Sweden's Defense Minister Karin Enstrom says the military should get a total of 70 new JAS Gripen combat aircraft, ten more than parliament had earlier agreed.

Enstrom comments came in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine and also of widely publicized Russian military flight incident last year when Moscow attack aircraft flew practice missions over the Baltic Sea, near Sweden.

Those flights and the ongoing insecurity in Ukraine has alarmed Swedish officials.

"Russia's actions in and around Ukraine has led to uncertainty in Europe. What happened in the past has made it really necessary to strengthen Sweden's defense," Enstrom told the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.

Parliament had already agreed to purchase of the 60 JAS Gripen planes, which are made and designed by Saab AB, but Enstrom believes that 10 more should be bought.

Any purchase would be preceded by proper procurement and pricing protocols to ensure fairness and transparency, she said.