Ahead of a Swiss referendum to buy 22 Gripen fighter aircraft the country’s lawmakers opposing the deal say it could cost three times more than the government claims.
Campaigners who are gearing up for the May 18 plebiscite warned that the price tag could swell to 10 billion Swiss francs (8.2 billion euros, $11.3 billion), according to Expactica.com
"As with all fighter plane deals, on top of the actual purchase price of 3.1 billion francs, you have to add operating and maintenance costs, as well as upgrades needed in the future," Green Party lawmaker Daniel Vischer, a member of the campaign coalition, said in a statement.
Polls show that two thirds of voters oppose the deal that was approved by the government in 2011 and backed by parliament last September.
According to Swiss law, opponents can contest the legislation that allowed the purchase to be funded by tapping an annual 300 million francs from the country's military budget over 10 years.
Switzerland chose Saab's Gripens over Dassault’s Rafale and the EADS’ Eurofighter.
However, supporters of the deal underline that in exchange for the sale, Saab and its engine supplier are contractually bound to sign business deals with Swiss firms worth 2.5 billion francs over the next decade.
The Gripens are meant to replace Switzerland's three-decade old fleet of 54 F-5 Tigers, built by US group Northrop.