Sweden ready to send Gripen jets to Ukraine

Sweden ready to send Gripen jets to Ukraine

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom confirmed on Wednesday that Sweden could be open to supplying Ukraine with Gripen fighter jets in the future.

He said this in an interview with Voice of America, Ukrinform reports.

Billstrom said that Sweden earlier decided to suspend the supply of Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine because Kyiv concluded that having two fighter jet systems at the same time - both F-16s and Gripens - was too much.

He said that it is about complex systems and it is not just a question about receiving airplanes and training pilots. These are complicated systems and to have two of them at the same time being implemented was too much, Billstrom said.

"But that is not to say that Sweden is not open to continuing with Gripens air fighters if and when [F-]16 programs have been concluded," Billstrom said.

According to him, due to the impossibility of going forward with the Gripen aircraft since the F-16s are coming aboard, Stockholm decided to provide Kyiv with other capabilities, including ASC 890 surveillance systems.

Read also: Norway to hand over six F-16 fighters to Ukraine

"It will provide Ukraine with the ability to perform better when it comes to air fighting and surveillance and also battle leading in the air and that is something which is going to be very good for Ukraine," the minister said.

He also said Sweden could still be open to supplying Gripen jets to Ukraine in the future.

Billstrom said the F-16, which is currently being introduced into the Ukrainian Air Force, would provide Ukraine with great and important capabilities. When this is implemented, it will be possible to talk about Gripen air fighters, he said.

On May 31, Billstrom said that Sweden could hand over its Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine after F-16s arrive in Ukraine.

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