US Exercises Replace Swedish Flying

Swedish Radio News reports that the military is spending nearly 5 million dollars to take part in air exercises in the United States, while cuts in the defence budget mean that other pilots are hardly allowed to fly.

Seven Gripen fighters and 90 members of the Swedish Air Force are to take part in the latest round of Red Flag exercises in southern Nevada in July and August.

The military’s chief of staff says they would rather have stayed home, as there are around 50 Gripen pilots who will remain more or less grounded this year because of defence cuts. They need the flying time to maintain their skills, he says.

But the government doesn’t agree, with the State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence commenting that it is important to see how well the Gripens do internationally.

Sweden’s Supreme Commander Håkan Syrén presented his proposals for military cutbacks Thursday, including the closing down of a light infantry unit in Arvidsjaur in the far north.

Syrén told a press conference that the cuts mean that in the future Sweden would not be able to resist major military operations against this country.