June 13, 2019 / 7:40 AM / 5 days ago

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

Sweden's Air Force Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter is seen during the AFX 18 exercise in Amari military air base, Estonia May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

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 ($6 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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