Workers at the Saab Gripen factory build a Saab Gripen fighter jet on May 5 in Linkoeping, Sweden. (JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP/Getty Images)
STOCKHOLM — Sweden said Friday it would go ahead with the purchase of a new generation of Saab Gripen fighter jets, despite Switzerland pulling out of a major co-financing deal.
"Global developments and Russian action in Ukraine, with troops in the country, underline the importance of us pursuing the acquisition of the next generation fighter aircraft," defense minister Karin Enstroem told public broadcaster SVT.
"This is also about our security and defence capability in the future," she said.
The Swedish government previously said it would only purchase the JAS 39 Gripen E — currently being developed by the Swedish aerospace firm Saab — if it had another buyer to share the development costs.
Switzerland had planned to buy 22 of the 60 fighter jets ordered by Sweden and share development costs, until voters rejected the deal in a May referendum.
SVT estimated the additional price tag for Sweden to be in the region of "several billion" kronor (several hundred million euros) and said the decision was supported by the main opposition party, currently leading in polls for next month's general election.
The 60 jets are due for delivery in 2018.