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THE WEEK AHEAD

MADRID : To Build a Fighter

August 04, 1992

The defense ministers of Spain, Germany, Great Britain and Italy will meet in the Spanish capital this week to decide the future of the proposed, multibillion-dollar European Fighter Aircraft.

German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe has already said his country wants to pull out of the massive project because of its enormous expense and because the Soviet threat no longer exists. But the other allies balk at wasting the millions already invested and at the idea of being left without a state-of-the-art fighter.

British sources say Defense Minister Malcolm Rifkind and his Spanish and Italian counterparts will try to persuade the Germans to go ahead with at least a cheaper version of the plane.

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