Swiss Stand By Gripen To Replace Ageing Fleet

  • 12:00 AM, February 15, 2012
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The Swiss government allayed Saab’s discomfort and is standing by the Gripen to replace its fighter fleet, the defense ministry said on Feb. 14, after reports claimed that the Swiss military feared that the aircraft was not up to the job. Defense Minister Ueli Maurer reiterated his first choice of the Swedish-made Gripen while speaking at a press conference in Bern. “The plane meets technical demands, even if it isn’t the most expensive aircraft on the market,” said Maurer. It was announced in November that The Federal Council has decided to purchase 22 Gripen for an estimated 3.1 billion francs (2.6 billion euros), reportedly the cheapest of three offers. The other bidders include French plane-maker Dassault’s Rafale and the Eurofighter, produced by the EADS consortium, both of whom are reportedly reviewing their prices. Maurer said the government had asked the French company to submit “a concrete offer” which Bern would then assess.