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Sweden may provide Ukraine with Gripen jets when Ukraine is ready – Swedish foreign minister

Der politische Arm der aktiven Zivilgesellschaft in Europa

Sweden may provide Ukraine with Gripen jets when Ukraine is ready – Swedish foreign minister

Sweden is ready to provide Ukraine with JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets in the future, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström has said.

Source: European Pravda, citing Billström in an interview with Voice of America

Details: The foreign minister noted that Stockholm had earlier halted the supply of aircraft to Kyiv because Ukraine found managing both F-16 and Gripen fighter jet systems simultaneously too challenging. It’s not only about acquiring the aircraft and training the pilots but also about integrating two complex systems, which would be too difficult to handle at the same time.

Quote from Billström: „However, that does not mean that Sweden is not open to going ahead with the Gripens if and when the F-16 programme is completed. Again, this decision is up to Ukraine, not the Swedish government.“

Details: The minister said the Swedish government could not proceed with the Gripen fighter jets because of the F-16 programme, so Stockholm decided to provide Kyiv with specialised ASC 890 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.

„This will mean that we are providing something that Ukraine can use in coordination with the F-16s. It will allow Ukraine to conduct air combat, surveillance and air combat management better,“ explained Billström.

When asked if this meant that Sweden could still be open to Gripen deliveries in the future, he replied in the affirmative.

„Yes, yes. It’s just a practical matter. I would say that the F-16s, which are now being introduced to Ukraine’s Air Force, will provide a significant and important capability. Once they are implemented, we can then start discussing the Gripen fighter jets. However, this decision has been made by the Ukrainian government, not the Swedish government,“ said Billström.

Background:

Earlier, despite Sweden’s plans to put on hold plans to supply Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he considered it necessary to train Ukrainian pilots to fly these combat aircraft.
Before this, the Swedish government decided that supplying Swedish Gripen jets to Ukraine was inappropriate at this stage, as it would complicate the transition of Ukraine’s Air Force to the F-16s.
Ukraine has signed a security agreement with Sweden. The agreement, among other things, provides for the prospect of a future transfer of Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine.

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