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Replacement of Swiss fighter jets postponed

The Swiss government has delayed the partial replacement of the army’s Tiger fighter jets for financial reasons, the Federal Chancellery announced on Wednesday.

The government confirmed it planned to replace 54 “obsolete” planes but has postponed the purchase until 2015 at the latest, at the recommendation of Defence Minister Ueli Maurer. Some jets in the Tiger fleet are over 30 years old.

Buying 22 new planes would have cost up to SFr4.8 billion ($4.6 billion). In a statement, the government said it could not use supplementary credits under the current budget constraints to buy the replacements, and existing resources had to be used to cover other army costs.

The defence and finance ministries will decide by the end of 2011 how much can be spent on replacements and when.

The decision stirred up various reactions. The Swiss People’s Party said it was regrettable but understandable. The Social Democrats were pleased, saying it would have been wrong to spend the money when other budget cuts were being made elsewhere.

The Group for Switzerland without an Army commented that the outcome showed the planes were not urgently needed. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR