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Anti-fighter jet initiative takes off

A pacifist organisation has again opened a campaign to block the purchase of new fighter jets for the Swiss Air Force.

This content was published on June 10, 2008 - 15:29

The group, Switzerland without an Army, on Tuesday launched an initiative which would derail government plans to replace 54 F-5 Tiger jets, which are to be retired by 2015.

A previous attempt by the organisation to prevent the purchase of fighter aircraft was rejected by voters in 1993.

The group said the acquisition of new combat aircraft made no sense and was an attempt at moving neutral Switzerland closer to the 26-nation Nato military alliance.

Switzerland without an Army has 18 months to collect the 100,000 signatures necessary to force a nationwide vote on a proposal that would impose a ten-year moratorium on the purchase of fighter jets.

Three companies are competing for a SFr2.5 billion ($2.4 billion) contract, including Sweden's Saab, France's Dassault and a European consortium, Eads.

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