ZURICH, May 18 (Reuters) - Swiss voters on Sunday narrowly blocked a $3.5 billion deal to buy 22 Gripen fighter jets from Saab, a projection showed, scuppering the government's air defence plans and dealing a blow to the Swedish aerospace group.
Around 52 per cent voted against a government proposal to free up funds to replace Switzerland's aging fleet of Northrop F-5 Tiger fighters with the Gripen jets, according to a projection by Swiss television.
About 48 percent were in favour in the country which has not fought a war in 200 years.
"Now it's practically clear, the Gripen will not be bought today," Claude Longchamp of the gfs.bern research and polling institute told Swiss television SRF. (Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Andrew Heavens)