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Truncated and delayed Swiss Hornet upgrade set for 2027 completion

Having originally intended to extend the service lives of 30 Hornets by 2025, Switzerland will now perform the work on just 15 by 2027. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Switzerland's service life extension programme (SLEP) for its fleet of Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters is to be rolled out to a fewer number of aircraft and is taking longer than originally intended.

The Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport (VBS) said on 22 March that, while much of the upgrade work had already been completed on the Swiss Air Force's 30 Hornets, only 15 would now receive the full SLEP enhancement and that this effort would be completed two years later than the planned 2025 deadline.

β€œIn order to use the F/A-18C/D fighter jets, which are over 25 years old, until the delivery of the new [Lockheed Martin] F-35A [Lightning II] fighter jets, they are currently undergoing a service life extension. Much of this work has already been completed. However, the technically demanding work on the aircraft structure and the delivery of replacement material are taking longer than originally planned. The completion of the project is now set for the end of 2027,” the VBS said.

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