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.”. 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”. The preparatory work for the procurement of a new fighter aircraft for the Swiss Air Force to replace the F/A-18C/D and the F-5E/F began about one and a half years ago. The Swiss Air Force operates a total of 34 single-seat F/A-18C and two-seat F/A-18D Hornet fighters. Eurofighter Typhoon Fighter Aircraft New extended-range ground-based air defence system All vendors must meet a deadline of Nov. 18 to deliver final proposals. America's Top Givers: The 25 Most Philanthropic Billionaires, EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Joe Biden Could Rescue The Last Nuclear Treaty—But Don’t Expect Him To Negotiate A New One, Clarified ‘Unfair And Deceptive’ Language Improves Airline Pricing Transparency, Russia Is Building Four Special Submarines To Haul Its Weird Doomsday Drone. That irony exists alongside a populace divided about acquiring any new fighters. The government has confirmed plans to acquire new fighter jets for the Swiss air force for no more than CHF6 billion ($6.1 billion) over the next few years. 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. 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. mid-1990s. The Lightning ... [+] II is the only 5th Generation option for Switzerland's "Air 2030" fighter acquisition. The jets, acquired in the 1990s, will age out by 2030. By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. Surrounded by five European nations, Switzerland has a total land border of 1,151 miles. Boeing's Super Hornet could be a logical successor but Lockheed Martin's F-35A is more advanced. Despite the green light, the naysayers have already singled out the F-35 with Swiss Social Democrat parliamentarian Roger Nordmann telling Swiss public television that it is “out of the question to buy the American F-35s, which are the most expensive.”. Switzerland has operated the American fighter since the ... [+] mid-1990s. Fielding a 5th-gen stealth fighter for a straight ahead defensive counter air mission may seem a contradiction in terms but the Swiss have a history of independent and often peculiar choices. Flying American equipment, as the Swiss Air Force currently does, brings interoperability and diplomatic benefits. In fact, the Swiss government is requiring that the selected provider must place orders with Swiss firms worth 60% of the contract value. Its air battle management capability has future utility as well, Gunzinger asserts. Swiss parliament approves new 6 billion franc fighter jet purchase 27/12/2019 By Le News Before Christmas, Switzerland’s parliament approved the purchase of a new fleet of fighter jets costing CHF 6 billion, according to RTS. Image: G. Mader . Concerns about cost and an undercurrent of reticence about American policy and arms sales factor into Swiss decision-making. “The aircraft is ready on day one. “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. The result was different this past September. 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. Five fighter types are being pitted against each to compete for a lucrative order for 30-40 aircraft for the Swiss Air Force. 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. Previously he served as managing editor for Defense News. U.S. Navy representatives and the Swiss … Given the F-35’s special ground infrastructure requirements (hangars, ALIS support system, secure mission planning), additional costs would logically be expected. Both projects only reached the prototype stage and ultimately both were cancelled. From a pure expediency and practicality standpoint, a Swiss decision to go with the F-35A seems like a long shot. Switzerland in July 2018 began a new effort to buy a replacement fighter. The Swiss opposition was energized in part by voters' views about the government of U.S. President Donald Trump, according to local media reports. Existing Swiss Air Force F-18 – © Andrew David Periam | Dreamstime.com 26 June 2020. This result has created serious difficulties for the Swiss Air Force, which has a fleet of old combat aircraft. Presently, 13 nations operate more than 585 F-35s from 26 bases worldwide. Switzerland is to hold a national referendum on its Air2030 requirement to procure new combat aircraft on … A pair of RAF Eurofighter Typhoons in formation with an F-35 during RAF Exercise Crimson Warrior in ... [+] 2020. Today, the closest thing Dublin operates to a fighter plane is the Swiss-built Pilatus PC-9 trainer aircraft. The F-35 he says, is the “best tool” to adapt to geopolitical and technological change. II is the only 5th Generation option for Switzerland's "Air 2030" fighter acquisition. “Some people don’t see stealth as a really big benefit. Ireland, Malta and Luxembourg don't have jets, they say, … The purchasing of new fighter planes stalled after the Swiss people voted against the acquisition of 22 JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets in 2014. The FFA P-16 was a Swiss prototype ground attack jet fighter designed and produced by aircraft manufacturer Flug- und Fahrzeugwerke Altenrhein (FFA). Robinson counters that Lockheed is “on a path” to get the CPFH down to $25,000 by 2025, two years before Swiss deliveries would start. The Swiss have kicked off flying season for the five types of combat aircraft under consideration to replace the country's aging fleet, with several demonstrations scheduled between now and early July. The Air Force wants to buy new … 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. Among the questions, one will concern the acquisition of new fighter jets for the Swiss Air Force. 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. 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. MBDA uses micro-drone as a spotter for its anti-tank missile, Biden proposing 5-year extension of nuke treaty with Russia, says US official, Elbit UK to make new target-marking kits for British foot soldiers, Macron calls on Biden for greater US military involvement, Hensoldt buys Austrian AI specialist Sail Labs to boost its sensor-fusion portfolio. Source: Swiss Federal Chancellery. “If we can get suitable aircraft for less, we will certainly look at that,” she said. There was 49.9 percent, or 1,597,030 votes, against. “In their Air 2030 upgrade program they are looking for a combined defensive air network. You don’t need additional mission equipment to add capability to the aircraft,” Robinson says. Based on the requirements published by the DDPS on 23 March 2018, the five candidates handed over their offers on 25 January 2019. © 2021 Forbes Media LLC. The country’s longstanding commitment to neutrality means its air force really only does air defense. U.K. Carrier Strike Group Declared Operational, Russia’s Dirty-Bomb Robo-Sub Is ‘Grotesque’—But Moscow’s Building A Base For It, Anyway. 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. Robinson stresses that the Swiss upgrade program, called “Air 2030,” seeks a fighter that can meet evolving threats over four decades (2030-2070). The Swiss Air Force operated 160 aircraft, both new and second-hand. Opponents of the plan could still derail it by seeking another referendum, a step that would require 100,000 signatures and could take years to unfold. That’s A Tough Sell. The thirty F/A-18 jets can still be used until 2030, while the F-5 Tiger II jets are already obsolete - about half of the aircraft (26) are still in flight conditions. 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. The jets, acquired in the 1990s, will age out by 2030. As noted, the Swiss Air Force isn’t expected to do those things. An F-35A from the 34th Fighter Squadron “Rude Rams,” based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, flies over ... [+] the Swiss Alps during an evaluation by the Swiss Air Force in 2019. The Hawker Hunter had a very long career in Swiss Air Force from the late 1950s until they were retired in 1994. Sign up for the Early Bird Brief, the defense industry's most comprehensive news and information, straight to your inbox. LMT 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. However, so does the knowledge that Europe is at best 15 years away from fielding its own 5th Generation fighter. He points out that the Swiss request for proposals specifically asked for the ability to reintroduce their pilots to the air-ground mission role and for ISR capability. All of the Air 2030 competitors are pitching industrial offsets. 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 F/A … The government has been keen to modernize the air force… As noted, the Swiss Air Force isn’t expected to do those things. Lockheed intends to define further industrial cooperation in the new year, according to Jim Robinson. On September 27, 2020, five bills will be put to the vote of Swiss citizens through a referendum. The Hunter was upgraded several times and was used mainly as an attack aircraft by … “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. F-35A. by Gareth Jennings . 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. The JAS-39, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F … 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. They could make one again. Sunday’s vote translates into a razor-thin majority of 50.1 percent, or 1,605,700 votes, in favor of the acquisition. Nonetheless, there remain doubts among the Swiss that an F-35 buy would stay within budget. 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. 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. 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. A USAF 34th Fighter Squadron F-35A lands at Payerne Air Base in western Switzerland. 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 … 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. Swiss set date for fighter referendum. Swiss F/A-18 jets are to be upgraded while the MoD seeks to enact a new generation fighter programme. 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. the Swiss Alps during an evaluation by the Swiss Air Force in 2019. The inducements may not be enough to overcome a pledge from Airbus to assemble all 40 Eurofighter Typhoons with a partner company in Switzerland. 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 A stealthy, networked jet could be considered overkill for an air policing mission. The reduction in fighter jets was accompanied by a decrease in the number of operational airbases and mirrored the overall downsizing of Swiss Armed … The Swiss Air Force operates a total of 34 single-seat F/A-18C and two-seat F/A-18D Hornet fighters. Luckily examples of both aircraft survive today and are on display in… The F-35 is the only 5th generation option but given the small Alpine nation’s needs, it’s arguably an odd one. Wafer-thin majority approves new fighter jets The air force flirted with a second defeat in six years before scraping over the line. She said that the purchase of new fighter planes is key to the future of the Swiss Armed Forces. 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. In 2014 the Swiss public voted to reject the purchase of Saab JAS-39 Gripens to replace the Hornets. Switzerland would be the European hub for such work and take on unspecified engine and airframe sustainment projects for its own operations and possibly others. In Lockheed’s case the sweeteners include the opportunity to produce about 400 canopies and transparencies (the canopy frame and glass) for the F-35 domestically. 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. The Air Force wants to buy new fighters, with candidates including the Airbus Eurofighter, French Rafale, F/A-18 Super Hornet, and F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. 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). A Swiss Air Force F/A-18C after takeoff. The F-35’s reputation is built on its ability to penetrate sophisticated air defense environments, strike, and provide networked information to other aircraft, land and sea platforms. 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. But Robinson maintains that the F-35’s sophistication makes it the only candidate viable in a broader air defense. On 6 September, Swiss Defence Minister Guy Parmelin presented the Bundesrat (the Swiss Governmental Ministerial Council) with a proposal for the complete replacement of the Swiss Air Force's (SwAF's) 26 F-5E/Fs and 31 F/A-18C/Ds. 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. Boeing's Super Hornet could be a logical successor but Lockheed Martin's F-35A is more advanced. He is based in Cologne, Germany. A Swiss Air Force Hornet takes off from Meiringen Air Base. At cruise speed (approximately 470 knots), an F-35A could fly north to south across the country in about 15 minutes and west to east in about 24 minutes. 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. A stealthy, networked jet could be considered overkill for an air policing mission. Swiss voters are set to back spending CHF6 billion on new fighter jets ... attempt at an upgrade of its air force. NKF is intended to replace the Swiss air force’s Northrop F-5E/F Tiger IIs and Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornets. 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. 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. 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. That’s probably true for the Swiss Air Force but it is a benefit.”, Mark Gunzinger, senior analyst at the Air Force’s Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, says the F-35A’s stealth is a “threshold requirement for an air force that is concerned about trends in adversary counterair capabilities.”. 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