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Sweden's Saab backs out of Swiss fighter jet test flights

Sweden's Saab backs out of Swiss fighter jet test flights
FILE PHOTO: Two Czech Gripen fighter planes demonstrate a flight interception of a Belgian air force transport plane over the Czech Republic, September 12, 2018, as part of NATO drills. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir -
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Saab will not test its Gripen fighter jet this month in Switzerland, the Swedish company said on Thursday, after the Swiss defense procurement agency recommended against it on grounds the plane would not be operationally ready in 2019.

“The Gripen E development plan does not match the Swiss plan to perform flight tests with aircraft that are operationally ready in 2019,” Saab said in a statement. “Therefore, Saab has decided not to attend the Swiss flight tests.”

The Swiss government has set a budget of 6 billion Swiss francs (£4.8 billion) for new jets to replace its ageing fleet and is evaluating proposals from Saab as well as Airbus, France’s Dassault, and Boeing and Lockheed Martin from the United States.

(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields)

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