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Sweden cancels plans to send Gripen jets to Ukraine

Sweden cancels plans to send Gripen jets to Ukraine Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson (Getty Images)

Sweden is suspending plans to send Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine to allow for the commissioning of F-16 fighter jets, according to Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson.

"We have been urged by the other countries in the coalition to wait with the Gripen system," he said, referring to countries that plan to provide Ukraine with American-made F-16 aircraft.

The minister added that this is because "the focus is now on introducing the F-16 system."

Last year, Ukraine began negotiations with Sweden on receiving Gripen fighter jets, and the Scandinavian country later said it would assess the potential of sending aircraft manufactured by Saab, a Swedish defense contractor.

Gripen for Ukraine

The JAS 39 Gripen is a multi-role fighter developed by the Swedish company Saab. It was adopted by the Swedish Air Force in 1997 and has since been exported to several other countries. The Gripen is known for its maneuverability, reliability, and affordable price.

At the end of May 2023, Sweden took an important step in supporting Ukraine by allowing pilots to train on the JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet. The training took place on simulators and included test flights.

According to the Office of the President of Ukraine, transferring Swedish Gripen to Ukraine, as well as the previously agreed supply of F-16s, requires coordination with other countries.

In late February, the Swedish parliament called for an immediate decision to supply Gripen aircraft to Ukraine.