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Defense Minister Ueli Maurer remains loyal to the Swedish Gripen fighter jet despite increased criticism the jet is inferior to competitors.
Maurer and military leaders spoke to reporters yesterday in the face of Sunday newspapers publishing a confidential report recommending against the Gripen.
“The Gripen fulfills the military’s needs fully. The Gripen is right for the Swiss army because we laid out beforehand military specifications and the jet fulfilled these expectations,” said Maurer.
Maurer added the Gripen fulfills the military’s needs and met the standard set before the contract was awarded.
Army chief André Blattmann defended the choice more colorfully: “The decision for the Gripen is one in our Swiss tradition: we don’t spend more than we have. The army leadership wants an honest solution. One should not act like we can afford a Ferrari, or that we need one.”
The Gripen was billed as the cheapest jet and the least advanced but Maurer and army officials are still behind it. Meanwhile competing firm Dassault reportedly made a counter offer to the Gripen deal.
Swiss officials are investigating claims of bid rigging in connection to the Gripen contract.