Apart from buying new jets, modernising Switzerland’s air defences also means investing in a new ground-based air defence system – without which the armed forces would be “unable to protect our country and people from airborne attacks”. U.S. Navy representatives and the Swiss … Among the questions, one will concern the acquisition of new fighter jets for the Swiss Air Force. He adds that unlike its competitors, the F-35 will not require the Swiss to buy additional accessories like launch rails, targeting pods or special weapons interfaces, all of which are integrated within the F-35A. Swiss voters backed buying new fighter jets, rejected curbs on immigration . Swiss Air Force F/A-18s routinely do, fulfilling their air defense/air policing mission. The purchasing of new fighter planes stalled after the Swiss people voted against the acquisition of 22 JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets in 2014. What use advanced ISR capabilities might be to Swiss aircraft operating within or near Swiss airspace and what annoyance or offense switching on systems that scoop considerable data might be to Swiss neighbors seem to be reasonable questions. But Robinson maintains that the F-35’s sophistication makes it the only candidate viable in a broader air defense. Defence Minister Viola Amherd told reporters she considers the result, however close, a mandate to continue ongoing evaluations of the Eurofighter, the Rafale, the F-18 Super Hornet and the F-35A. In addition, the Swiss Air Force will use the new fighter aircraft for air policing around the clock, and, in case of armed attack, defend the air space for a limited period of time and support the ground forces. The inducements may not be enough to overcome a pledge from Airbus to assemble all 40 Eurofighter Typhoons with a partner company in Switzerland. Dassault hasn’t disclosed its Rafale pricing or offsets but historically tight relations between France and Switzerland as well as daily cross-border business suggest the French could have an edge. The F-35 he says, is the “best tool” to adapt to geopolitical and technological change. Robinson stresses that the Swiss upgrade program, called “Air 2030,” seeks a fighter that can meet evolving threats over four decades (2030-2070). Ironically, its F/A-18Cs are multi-role aircraft as are all those in the quartet vying to replace them, none more so than the F-35. On September 27, 2020, five bills will be put to the vote of Swiss citizens through a referendum. Ireland, Malta and Luxembourg don't have jets, they say, … Bottom line, 4th gen-plus candidates do not have the degree of survivability and potential for mission growth a true 5th gen fighter like the F-35 can offer.”. “This is supported by multiple reports that have been published about its performance during Red Flags and other exercises as a counterair and battle management aircraft. Next summer, the Swiss government will choose one of four contenders to replace its ageing fleet of F-5 Tigers and F/A-18 Hornets by 2030: Airbus’ Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault’s Rafale, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, and Lockheed Martin’s COLOGNE, Germany — Swiss voters have approved a government plan to spend $6.5 billion on new fighter aircraft by a margin of 8,670 votes, with the two U.S. vendors in the race feeling the backlash of anti-Trump sentiments. “Some people don’t see stealth as a really big benefit. “The aircraft is ready on day one. You don’t need additional mission equipment to add capability to the aircraft,” Robinson says. Despite Huge Losses, United Airlines Tries Talking Positively. “In their Air 2030 upgrade program they are looking for a combined defensive air network. Boeing's Super Hornet could be a logical successor but Lockheed Martin's F-35A is more advanced. In 2014 the Swiss public voted to reject the purchase of Saab JAS-39 Gripens to replace the Hornets. A huge presence of National Guard troops descends on the U.S. capital in the wake of a violent storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, as authorities prepare for more threats during the inauguration. Perhaps surprisingly, cost is one of the competitive advantages that Lockheed’s F-35 Switzerland campaign manager, Jim Robinson, is touting first. Lockheed is also offering, at additional cost, Swiss defense contractor RUAG the opportunity to assemble an additional four F-35s itself, building expertise for the Swiss technicians currently maintaining the country’s Hornets. The Lightning II is also headed in the right direction in terms of volume, support and cost per flight hour (CPFH), Lockheed’s campaign manager asserts. The Swiss would have access to an F-35 Information Center of Excellence, an in-country data center allowing for Swiss companies to test their cyber capabilities in a secure environment and to look at information exchanged within the F-35 network. Critics assert that these and others would push the bill for F-35s to $27 billion (CHF 24 billion). This result has created serious difficulties for the Swiss Air Force, which has a fleet of old combat aircraft. The history of the Swiss Air Force began in 1914 with the establishment of an ad hoc force consisting of a handful of men in outdated and largely civilian aircraft. A pair of RAF Eurofighter Typhoons in formation with an F-35 during RAF Exercise Crimson Warrior in ... [+] 2020. Given the situation and the competition, what is Lockheed’s sales pitch to the Swiss? Sebastian Sprenger is associate editor for Europe at Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, and on U.S.-Europe cooperation and multi-national investments in defense and global security. They could make one again. That’s A Tough Sell. NKF is intended to replace the Swiss air force’s Northrop F-5E/F Tiger IIs and Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornets. However, so does the knowledge that Europe is at best 15 years away from fielding its own 5th Generation fighter. The country’s longstanding commitment to neutrality means its air force really only does air defense. It was Switzerland's second attempt to develop a domestically designed and manufactured jet fighter, following the EFW N-20.. Work on what would become the P-16 commenced during the late 1940s. The jets, acquired in the 1990s, will age out by 2030. A stealthy, networked jet could be considered overkill for an air policing mission. “The vote represents a long-term investment in the security of the Swiss population and infrastructure,” she said. A new poll reveals that 58% of voters are in favor of procurement. (Image credit: Alessandro Fucito). the Swiss Alps during an evaluation by the Swiss Air Force in 2019. II is the only 5th Generation option for Switzerland's "Air 2030" fighter acquisition. Swiss voters are set to back spending CHF6 billion on new fighter jets ... attempt at an upgrade of its air force. Flying hour costs are notoriously hard to calculate and compare but Robinson adds that an expanding international fleet larger than those of the Eurofighter or Rafale will lower the average further. 26 June 2020. He stresses that Lockheed’s proposal includes 40 aircraft (rather than the 36 reported) with significant industrial offset, priced within the $6.5 billion budget. The Swiss opposition was energized in part by voters' views about the government of U.S. President Donald Trump, according to local media reports. Sunday’s vote translates into a razor-thin majority of 50.1 percent, or 1,605,700 votes, in favor of the acquisition. Switzerland has operated the American fighter since the ... [+] mid-1990s. From a pure expediency and practicality standpoint, a Swiss decision to go with the F-35A seems like a long shot. Five fighter types are being pitted against each to compete for a lucrative order for 30-40 aircraft for the Swiss Air Force. As noted, the Swiss Air Force isn’t expected to do those things. In the 1950's the Swiss worked on the development of two domestically designed and produced jet combat aircraft for the Swiss Air Force, the EFW N-20 Aiguillon (Sting) fighter and the FFA P-16 ground attack fighter. Swiss F/A-18 jets are to be upgraded while the MoD seeks to enact a new generation fighter programme. Presently, 13 nations operate more than 585 F-35s from 26 bases worldwide. The Swiss Air Force launched “Air 2030” program aimed to the selection of its future fighter and, as part of the program, the air arms carried out the evaluation of four candidate aircraft: the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale, and the Lockheed Martin F-35. mid-1990s. During the pre-referendum campaign, the two U.S. vendors in the running, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, saw themselves lumped in with his foreign policy approach, considered reckless by many in the wealthy European countries such as Switzerland. The jets, acquired in the 1990s, will age out by 2030. You may opt-out by. From Europe, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale and the Saab Gripen E; from the US — the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II. As noted, the Swiss Air Force isn’t expected to do those things. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. As a former USAF F-16 pilot, Robinson says that he “would have loved to be sure the offensive air didn’t know where I was in my defensive counter-air role.”, But he recognizes that scanning Switzerland for air defense aircraft taking off from known locations isn’t a tough job. In fact, the Swiss government is requiring that the selected provider must place orders with Swiss firms worth 60% of the contract value. What it primarily needs is an interceptor. “We’re in a great position … We’re going to come in at or below the cost of the 4th generation competitors so I think that makes us really competitive,” Robinson says. by Gareth Jennings . Eurofighter Typhoon Fighter Aircraft New extended-range ground-based air defence system The company is already working with two Swiss optics suppliers and additional opportunities could theoretically extend to other Swiss industries like its depressed precision timepiece sector. By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. A USAF 34th Fighter Squadron F-35A lands at Payerne Air Base in western Switzerland. Both projects only reached the prototype stage and ultimately both were cancelled. All vendors must meet a deadline of Nov. 18 to deliver final proposals. Many oppose the idea, saying the neutral country neither can afford nor needs cutting-edge warplanes to defend Alpine territory which a supersonic jet can cross in 10 minutes. It was only in the 1930s that an effective air force was established at great cost, capable of inflicting several embarrassing defeats on the Nazi Luftwaffe in the course of an initially vigorous defence of neutral Swiss airspace. The government has been keen to modernize the air force… The FFA P-16 was a Swiss prototype ground attack jet fighter designed and produced by aircraft manufacturer Flug- und Fahrzeugwerke Altenrhein (FFA). Switzerland in July 2018 began a new effort to buy a replacement fighter. The F-35 in its quarterbacking role can provide valuable data as they look to upgrade their ground-based air defense systems.”, One might also question the value of stealth. Prodded by reporters about the the narrowness of the vote, she said: “In a democracy it’s a given that we respect the majority decision.”. The voter turnout was 59.4 percent, according to figures published online Sunday evening by the Federal Chancellery. Luckily examples of both aircraft survive today and are on display in… Also, a push to develop counter-drone measures and the Military Times editors and Bureau Chiefs break down the week's top stories on Defense News Weekly for Jan. 16, 2020. The Lightning ... [+] II is the only 5th Generation option for Switzerland's "Air 2030" fighter acquisition. Existing Swiss Air Force F-18 – © Andrew David Periam | Dreamstime.com FILE PHOTO: A Swiss Air Force F/A-18C Hornet passes in front of a Eurofighter Typhoon jet during tests organised by Armasuisse to replace the fighter jets of the Swiss Air Force … © 2021 Forbes Media LLC. She said that the purchase of new fighter planes is key to the future of the Swiss Armed Forces. The result was different this past September. Given the F-35’s special ground infrastructure requirements (hangars, ALIS support system, secure mission planning), additional costs would logically be expected. Sign up for the Early Bird Brief, the defense industry's most comprehensive news and information, straight to your inbox. The reduction in fighter jets was accompanied by a decrease in the number of operational airbases and mirrored the overall downsizing of Swiss Armed … Source: Swiss Federal Chancellery. An F/A-18 Hornet flies over spectators during the annual live-fire event of the Swiss Air Force at the Axalp, over Brienz in the Bernese Alps, on Oct. 10, 2018. In a previous competition the Saab Gripen E was selected to replace the F-5, but the Swiss public rejected the purchase of a new fighter in a referendum in 2014. The Swiss Air Force announced on Friday it has accepted five bids for a new fighter aircraft as part of Switzerland’s air power modernization effort named Air2030. Under its Air2030 programme, Switzerland is seeking to procure new combat aircraft and ground-based air defenses in a programme valued at up to 8 billion Swiss francs ($8.08 billion). The F-35’s CPFH has been a topic among program partner nations as well as the Swiss who acknowledge that at $35,000 per hour, it is almost twice as expensive as its European and American competitors. A growing number are in Europe and the F-35 Final Assembly and Checkout Facility (FACO) in nearby Cameri, Italy, provides synergy with potential Swiss maintenance/support operations. Based on the requirements published by the DDPS on 23 March 2018, the five candidates handed over their offers on 25 January 2019. Amherd stressed that the aircraft budget is to be seen as a ceiling. That irony exists alongside a populace divided about acquiring any new fighters. Boeing is stressing the cost and structural continuity advantages of its Super Hornet and reportedly, “working with more than 100 current and new partners across Switzerland.”. The Swiss Air Force operated 160 aircraft, both new and second-hand. Boeing's Super Hornet could be a logical successor but Lockheed Martin's F-35A is more advanced. Swiss set date for fighter referendum. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. Switzerland, which last fought a foreign war more than 200 years ago and has no discernable enemies, wants to spend billions on new fighter jets. Lockheed intends to define further industrial cooperation in the new year, according to Jim Robinson. On immigration you are opting in to the aircraft budget is to be seen as a really benefit... Are opting in to the Swiss Air Force pure expediency and practicality standpoint, a Swiss Force. 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