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Saab launches latest effort to secure Swiss fighter order

28 January 2019
Saab’s selection by Switzerland was cancelled following a referendum on the procurement in 2014. The Swedish company has re-submitted its Gripen E under a renewed fighter procurement programme. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

Saab is once again looking to sell its Gripen E combat aircraft to Switzerland, with a formal proposal submitted to the Federal Office for Defence Procurement (Armasuisse) on 25 January.

The Swedish manufacturer is offering an option of 30 or 40 new-build Gripen E aircraft with a 100% offset package for Swiss industry. Saab's offer comes on the back of a request for proposals (RFP) for a new fighter aircraft issued by the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (VBS [previously DDPS]) on 6 July 2018.

Switzerland has tried on several occasions to procure a new fighter to replace its ageing aircraft with the most recent effort, for which the Gripen E was selected, failing on a public referendum about its funding in 2014. While previous attempts have been geared at replacing the Swiss Air Force's Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II fleet, this latest effort also includes the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet. As well as the Gripen E, Switzerland is also considering the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The VBS plans to select a new fighter type in 2020, with parliamentary approval and the award of funding in 2022 and deliveries from 2025. Sweden is due to receive the first of 60 Gripen Es in 2019, with deliveries running through to 2026.

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