Friday, April 16, 2010

Saab offers cut price fighter jets to Romania

BUCHAREST (AFP) - Sweden is offering to sell Romania 24 new Gripen combat jets for the same price demanded by the United States for second-hand F-16s.

The offer matches the number of jets offered by the United States, but does not contain ammunition like the US offer.

Romania's Supreme Council announced in March its decision to buy 24 second-hand F-16 jets for 1.3 billion dollars, a purchase which is to be submitted to parliament for approval.

Jerry Lindbergh, a Swedish government official in charge of defence exports, gave details of the offer at a news conference in Bucharest.

He said Sweden could provide 24 new "fully NATO interoperable Gripen C/D fighters, including training, support, logistics and 100 percent offset for the amount of one billion euros (1.3 billion dollars)."

The money could be paid over 15 years with low interest rates.

Sweden's ambassador to Romania Mats Aberg said it was "Romania's sovereign right to choose the multirole jets it wanted", but to provide all information on the Swedish offer, he had sought a meeting with the parliament defence commission chairman.

Swedish group Saab said in March it was "surprised" by Romania's choice of second hand F-16 aircraft.

Bucharest is also considering buying 24 new F-16 jets and later 24 F-35 jets, the defence ministry said, stressing this was part of the Romanian-US "strategic partnership."

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