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New initiative against fighter jets

Swiss voters are likely to be called upon to express their opinion on the purchase of fighter jets.

This content was published on March 30, 2008 - 17:59

The pacifist organisation, Group for Switzerland without an Army, says it plans to collect the necessary signatures to force a nationwide vote on defence spending.

The people's initiative calls for a ten-year arms moratorium on the purchase of fighter jets.

The group which has 18 months to collect the at least 100,000 signatures, said it would launch its campaign this summer.

The move aims to derail government plans to replace 54 Tiger fighter jets which will be withdrawn from service between 2011 and 2013.

Talks are already underway with four aircraft manufacturers on the SFr2.5 billion ($2.5 billion) deal and test flights are planned later this year.

The Swiss air force fleet, which includes 118 F/A-18 Hornet and Tiger jets, has been revamped and the number of airbases was reduced over the past few years.

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