VIENNA, Austria --- Austria’s coalition government is split over whether to keep its fleet of Eurofighter jets, with the far-right Freedom Party preferring to replace the planes with Saab aircraft, the newspaper Die Presse reported on Friday.
Defence Minister Mario Kunasek of the Freedom Party has ordered a review of the previous government’s decision to scrap the jets made by the Eurofighter consortium, which includes Airbus, BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives prefer to keep the aircraft, even though Austria is locked in a legal battle with Airbus and the consortium. It accuses them of fraud and wilful deception in connection with a $2 billion Eurofighter order in 2003. They deny the Austrian allegations.
Neutral Austria currently operates decades-old Saab aircraft alongside its Eurofighter jets. The government has yet to decide whether to continue using two families of jets or switch to one, Die Presse reported, without identifying or describing its sources. (end of excerpt)
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