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Allies asked Sweden to pause plans on Gripens for Ukraine to focus on F-16s, minister says

by Martin Fornusek May 28, 2024 2:59 PM 2 min read
The Swedish Air Force's JAS-39C Gripen during the International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on July 21, 2019, in Fairford, U.K. (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
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Sweden was asked by partners to wait with possible plans on sending Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine, as the focus is now on providing Kyiv with F-16 aircraft, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson told the TT news agency on May 28.

The minister told the Kyiv Independent in March that discussions on a possible supply of its Gripen jets to Ukraine are underway after Sweden's entry into NATO, but made no definite pledge.

"We have been urged by the other countries in the coalition to wait with the Gripen system," Jonson told TT in Brussels, adding: "This has to do with the fact that the focus is now on introducing the F-16 system."

Jonson added that the pause does not mean the transfer of Gripens will not become relevant again in the future but explained that the coalition does not wish to introduce two different fighter jet systems simultaneously.

Several NATO countries – Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway – have pledged to deliver dozens of U.S.-made F-16 fighters from their stocks. Most recently, the Belgian government said it would deliver 30 of the planes by 2028, with the first ones bound to arrive by the end of this year.

Danish F-16s are expected to arrive as early as this summer, whereas Dutch fighter jets should begin arriving in the autumn.

Denmark, the Netherlands, and the U.S. are spearheading the fighter jet coalition that aims not only to provide Ukraine with the F-16s themselves but also with the necessary training for Ukrainian pilots and other personnel.

First group of Ukrainian pilots passes F-16 training in US
The aviators will now move to Europe for additional training, Politico wrote, citing an undisclosed source.
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