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Swiss pick Saab's Gripen fighter

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17:13 CET+01:00
The Swiss government on Wednesday confirmed their intention to purchase 22 Swedish Saab Gripen Fighter jets, choosing the less expensive Swedish plane over the Eurofighter or the Rafaele.

”What is good for Sweden and other countries must also be good for Switzerland,” said minister for defence Ueli (Ulrich) Mauer at a press conference on Wednesday.

According to Mauer it was Gripen's qualities, price, as well as the industrial relationship with the Saab defence group that clinched the deal.

Rumours regarding the purchase were circulating already early on Wednesday, making defence and security company Saab stocks surge on market.

News agency TT reported that the local papers estimated the sale being worth close to 22 billion Swedish kronor ($3.29 billion).

The Swiss decision to go with Gripen was controversial and local Swiss media pointed out that it would cost Switzerland significantly less than would the same number of the Eurofighter or the French Rafaele.

Gripen allegedly didn't do that well in two of the tests performed, but the fighter's advocates argue that the aircraft has previously done better and that it is the overall performance that would count.

However, critics claim that the price tag ultimately closed the deal.

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”The purchase of Gripen might not mean that we get the best fighter plane in Europe. But we'll have a plane that meets our expectations – and we haven't planned to break any world records in this area,” Mauer said at the press conference.

Before the Swiss press conference the Saab group said they were aware of what the Swiss papers were claiming but wouldn't confirm nor deny the information until official confirmation had been received.

According to the company website, the Saab group will hold a press conference later on Wednesday in Stockholm.

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