Budget Defies Parliamentary Decision

Contradicting a recent decision by parliament, the new Swedish budget includes a provision for the purchase of a new advanced model of the Gripen jet fighter for the air force.

Sweden developed the controversial Gripen because as a neutral nation it didn’t want to depend on foreign suppliers for its warplanes. But the project requires foreign exports to break even, and those have been hard to find.

Critics say that with Sweden’s current partnership with NATO, the reliance on a Swedish fighter is unnecessary, especially as the Gripen includes key American components.

Recently parliament decided that the Swedish Air Force should have one hundred Gripens, all of the same model, to reduce maintenance costs. But Swedish Radio News reports that Tuesday’s new budget includes the purchase of between eight and ten Gripens of a different and advanced model, should Norway approve a deal to buy 48 of the Swedish fighters.