Switzerland to buy 36 F-35 jet fighters.
Image Credit: Twitter account F-35 Lightning II
On Wednesday, the Swiss Federal Council made of seven executive members took the decision to advise the parliament to buy 36 F-35A fighters from Lockheed Martin for 5.5 billion Swiss francs ($16.75 billion) and five Patriot ground-based air-defense system units for the price of 3.6 billion francs over the period of 30 years.
This satisfies Swiss Air Force needs for its multi-year fleet refurbishment called the ‘Air2030’. The name was given since its division’s current equipment will stay in service till 2030. Other contenders for the fighter-jet contract were Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale fighter jets from France and four-nation Eurofighter jet built by Germany- and Spain-backed Airbus, Italy’s Leonardo and Britain’s BAE Systems. The decision to buy the F35 fighter jets immediately drew criticism from opposition groups. Priska Seiler Graf, a member of parliament for the left-leaning Social Democrats (SP) said,
The decision is simply incomprehensible. It’s not just about buying them, but the upkeep and operating costs. We should seek a European solution … we don’t want to be dependent on the United States.Priska Seiler Graf.
The Swiss government also chose the patriot missile system over the Franco-Italian group Eurosam. The Defence Minister Viola Amherd said that they chose the F-35A based on its impressive performance and it offered the best value for money.
Meanwhile Lockheed’s Vice President expressed their satisfaction for being chosen to deliver the fighter jets.
We are honored to be selected by Switzerland and look forward to partnering with the Swiss government, public, air force and industry to deliver and sustain the F-35 aircraft. With the selection, Switzerland will become the 15th nation to join the F-35 program of record, joining several European nations in further strengthening global airpower and security.Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program.
More details to follow.