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Sweden to invest billions in Gripen upgrade

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10:26 CEST+02:00
The Swedish government has said that it wants to upgrade 31 old JAS Gripen planes to bring them up to the same standard as later models. The cost of the project is estimated at 4.1 billion kronor ($577 million).

Defence Minister Mikael Odenberg sees a number of advantages with bringing the older planes up to date.

"Our air force system will have lower operational costs, since we will just have a single version. It will also reduce the total number of planes," he told Sveriges Radio.

The minister also added that all planes would be of a sufficient standard for use in international operations.

The Green Party fears that the planes will now be made available for use in Afghanistan.

"The defence minister has already gone out and said that we are going to send Jas planes to Afghanistan. So presumably some of these planes will be sent there and that is something we are very concerned about," defence spokesman Peter Rådberg told Sveriges Radio.

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