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NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
18 May 14. Result in Swiss referendum announced. Further to the decisions by the Swiss Parliament in 2013 to procure 22 Gripen E, a national referendum was held today in Switzerland on the funding law for Gripen. The result was ‘no’ which means that the Gripen E procurement process in Switzerland stops. For Saab, the Gripen E programme continues according to plan, with development and production of 60 Gripen E for Sweden ongoing and deliveries scheduled for 2018. In February 2013, Saab signed a framework agreement with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) concerning the development and production of 60 Gripen E to Sweden and potentially 22 to Switzerland. Today’s referendum result on the funding law for Gripen means that the Swiss procurement process of 22 Gripen E stops. The Swedish development and production orders placed in 2013 continue, with delivery of Gripen E to Sweden commencing in 2018. The negotiations regarding 36 Gripen NG to Brazil are ongoing and according to plan with the ambition from both parties that an agreement should be signed in 2014.
“Our focus is helping countries protect their ways of life, which we do by serving the global market with world-leading products, including Gripen. We have seen in Switzerland support for Gripen, including through its evaluation and selection over competitors and in the votations in the Swiss Parliament last year,” says Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO of Saab.
“We respect the process in Switzerland and do not comment on today’s outcome in the referendum. Following selection in 2011, hundreds of business relationships in Switzerland have been created through the Swiss Industrial Participation programme, which was created in relation to the Gripen E procurement. These are relationships we look forward to continuing as long as possible,” adds Håkan Buskhe.
Under the industrial participation programme, over 500 contracts with 125 Swiss businesses have been arranged. Some of these are with Saab but most are with partners and suppliers to Saab. This shows very clearly that there are strong and long-lasting relationships between Sweden and Switzerland. Saab will continue working with Swiss companies and contracts placed will be honoured, subject to their terms and conditions. Gripen is the backbone of five nations’ air defences: Sweden, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary and Thailand. In addition, The Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS) in the UK uses Gripen in its training programme for future test pilots.
15 May 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. From 1 Jan 06 to 30 Apr 14, 2,177 personnel were Wounded in Action and 7,170 were aeromedically evacuated. During April 2014, no personnel were Wounded in Action but 26 were aeromedically evacuated. (Def Stats, 15 May 14.)
The Defence Secretary witnessed the closure of OP (Observation Post) Sterga, the last forward base to be used by UK troops. The UK presence in Helmand is now centralised in Camp Bastion, which is due to close at the end of the year. (MoD, 11 May 14.)
Mental health care is provided for all serving Armed Forces personnel. (Written Answer (WA), 12 May 14.)
Once UK Forces have drawn down from their combat role in Helmand the UK will still have a small security team, largely composed of civilian contractors, based in Kabul. (WA, 12 May 14.)
The International Development Secretary delivered an update on Afghanistan to the House of Commons. The report covered the period from the last such Statement on 10 Feb 14. (Hansard, 14 May 14, Column 755.)
Comment: The Defence Committee’s Report on ‘Afghanistan’ was published as HC 994 for £10:00 on 13 May 14. The Report examines the possible outcomes of the new President of Afghanist