Switzerland picks Gripen jets over Rafale, Eurofighter
The Swiss government said on Wednesday it is to purchase 22 Swedish-made Gripen fighter jets to replace its ageing F5 fighter fleet.
"The Federal Council has decided to acquire 22 Saab Gripen fighter planes to replace the obsolete F5 Tiger," a statement said.
The planes were selected over the French Dassault Rafale and the EADS Eurofighter, also being considered for the multi-billion Swiss franc contract.
The candidates had been subjected to a robust evaluation lasting several years, the government said, and by opting for the Gripen it had chosen a jet which "fulfils military demands" while being financially sustainable.
The planned purchase will be put to parliament as part of the government's 2012 arms programme.
During its last session the Swiss parliament charged the government with launching the acquisition process for new planes by the end of the year.
"This decision allows us to acquire a high performance plane without compromising other military branches or their essential equipment," said the government.
Saab shares rose in Stockholm after the announcement, gaining 9.6 percent to 119 krona (13 euros/17.6 dollars).
© 2011 AFP