Swiss government presses ahead with Gripen E purchase
By Nicholas de Larrinaga
Switzerland's government has formally requested approval and funding for the purchase of the Saab JAS 39 Gripen E multirole fighter and may put its selection to the test in a national referendum, it was revealed on 14 November.
The news came as the Swiss Federal Council formally requested that the Swiss Parliament approves funding for the purchase of aircraft to fulfil the country's fighter procurement programme.
Funding for the programme to buy 22 Gripen E fighters is calculated at CHF3.126 billion (USD3.311 billion) and will, if approved by the Swiss Federal Assembly, be provided through 'The Gripen Funds Act' of the Swiss Parliament.
The Gripen E was originally selected by Switzerland in November 2011 at the successor to the Northrop F-5 Tiger II, through the country's Tiger replacement programme (TTE).
According to the terms of the proposed 'Gripen Funds Act', the procurement of the Gripen is subject to an optional referendum, the date of which would be determined by the Federal Council. A referendum could be problematic for a procurement that has not been without controversy.
Some circles questioned the decision to select the Gripen over competitors that included the Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon.198 of 624 words
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