The Associated Press
Published: October 25, 2006
OSLO, Norway Sweden's new prime minister promoted his country's Gripen fighter jets to replace Norway's aging F-16s in a meeting with his Norwegian counterpart Wednesday.
"They are cheaper, they are fully developed and Sweden is good at cooperation with buyers," Fredrik Reinfeldt said during his first official visit to Norway.
NATO-member Norway plans to buy new fighters in 2008 in a deal worth up to 60 billion kroner (US$8.9 billion, €7.1 billion) to replace the U.S.-made aircraft.
The Nordic country is considering buying the F-35, or Joint Strike Fighter, developed by a U.S.-led consortium, the Swedish Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said at a joint news conference.
"We think it is important for Norway to have the chance to consider three real alternatives," Stoltenberg said. "But no decision has been made."
Neighboring Norway and neutral Sweden have a long tradition of tight cooperation in all areas, including industry.
Norway has often complained that Norwegian companies were not getting expected contracts from its 1 billion kroner (US$149-million or €119-million), 10-year commitment to the Joint Strike Fighter project.