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Swiss could borrow Swedish fighter jets

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Swiss could borrow Swedish fighter jets
Norman Pealing/Gripen International (File)
15:56 CEST+02:00

Sweden could loan a fleet of Gripen fighter jets to Switzerland as it awaits delivery of the craft's next generation model, Swiss Defence Minister Ueli Maurer said on Friday.

Bern announced in November its intention to buy 22 Saab Gripen E/F fighter jets to replace its ageing US F-5 fighter fleet in an estimated 3.1 billion francs ($3.3 billion) deal.

The E/F is still under development and Sweden could loan Switzerland about 10 of the current C/D model in the meantime.

Maurer made the announcement on Friday after a two-day meeting with his Swedish counterpart Karin Enström, Swiss news agency ATS reported.

The loan would allow pilots to get trained up and avoid the costly upkeep of the F-5.

The Gripen, not available before 2020, was selected over the French Dassault Rafale and the EADS Eurofighter, sparking much debate in the Swiss parliament which has yet to give the purchase the green light.

A referendum will also likely be held on the deal.

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