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Swiss parliament approves $5.5 billion purchase of F-35 fighters

Published: Updated:

The Swiss parliament gave final approval on Thursday to buy 36 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighter jets, pressing ahead without waiting for a referendum on the $5.5 billion deal.

Switzerland chose the F-35 last year as its next-generation fighter jet, angering opponents who said they would ensure a referendum was held to overturn what they called an unnecessary "Ferrari" option.

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The government had said it would sign the contract before the referendum, arguing that it was unlikely the purchase could take place under the same conditions if the deal had to be renegotiated once the offer expires next year.

Many countries have stepped up spending on weapons systems, it has said, saying Finland had decided to buy 64 F-35As, Germany wanted to purchase up to 35 and Canada would buy 88.

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