Swiss group launches campaign against fighter jet purchase

In Hungary

A pacifist organization in Switzerland opened a campaign to block the purchase of new fighter jets for the Swiss Air Force.

The group, Switzerland without an Army, said its purpose was to derail government plans to replace 54 F-5 Tiger jets, which are to be retired by 2015, the official Swissinfo news website reported.

The acquisition of new combat aircraft makes no sense and is an attempt at moving neutral Switzerland closer to the 26-nation NATO military alliance, said the organization.

Switzerland without an Army has 18 months to collect the 100,000 signatures necessary to force a nationwide vote on a proposal that would impose a 10-year moratorium on the purchase of fighter jets.

Three foreign companies are now competing for the Swiss contract, including Sweden's Saab, France's Dassault and a European consortium, Eads. The contract is worth some 2.5 billion Swiss francs ($2.4 billion).

Switzerland without an Army had previously launched an attempt to prevent the purchase of fighter aircraft, but the campaign was rejected by voters in 1993, Swissinfo said. (Xinhua) 

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