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Switzerland selects F-35 and Patriot for Air2030 requirement

Switzerland has selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and the Raytheon Patriot ground-based air defence systems (GBADS) to fulfil its Air2030 requirement.

Seen here in US Air Force service, the F-35A will shortly be flying with the Swiss Air Force also. (US Air Force)

Seen here in US Air Force service, the F-35A will shortly be flying with the Swiss Air Force also. (US Air Force)

The Federal Council announced the selections on 30 June, noting that it is proposing that the country procure 36 F-35As and five Patriot GBADS based on the highest overall benefits for the lowest overall costs.

“The Federal Council is confident that these two systems are the most suitable for protecting the Swiss population from air threats in the future,” the council's announcement stated.

As noted by the council, its decisions were based on a comprehensive technical evaluation of four new fighter aircraft candidates. For the fighter element of Air2030, the competing entries came from Germany's Airbus for the Eurofighter Typhoon, France's Dassault for the Rafale, and the United States' Boeing and Lockheed Martin for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-35A respectively. For the GBADS requirement, Air2030 considered an offer from France for the Eurosam SAMP/T and the US for the Patriot.

The selections pave the way for parliamentary approval for both systems and funding in 2022, with deliveries to follow from 2025.

The F-35A will replace the Swiss Air Force's ageing Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II and Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fleets that are both set to be retired in 2030, while the Patriot is being acquired to fulfil a requirement for an extended-range GBADS capable of covering at least 15,000 km 2 . The competing companies were asked to submit the most advantageous offer for Switzerland, with the aircraft deal capped at CHF6 billion (USD6.52 billion) and the GBADS deal at CHF2 billion.

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