STOCKHOLM, Sweden, March 1 (UPI) -- Sweden's military says it needs up to 80 new Gripen fighter jets to replace its indigenous aging fleet of fighter aircraft.
The Swedish Ministry of Defense said in a statement that it needs 60-80 planes because the upgrade program for the fighter jet system isn't to begin until 2020 and will take about 10 years.
"The upgrade of JAS 39 Gripen is necessary to ensure that the fighter jet system is operatively relevant and that our air defense in the long run can stand up compared to the world around us," the ministry said.
Swedish defense and aerospace group Saab said, in a release the upgrades would "allow room for more weapons and more fuel, which in turn leads to higher efficiency and durability."
Saab said better radar and an improved alert- and counter-action system should be included in the fighter upgrades, Stockholm's The Local newspaper reported Thursday.