The Federal Council wants to spend CHF8 billion ($8.1 billion) on new fighter jets and missile defences for the Swiss army. These five planes are high on the shopping list.
Defence Minister Guy Parmelin says the current fleet of planes and anti-aircraft missiles are coming to the end of their service life: the 30 F/A-18s can be used until 2030 and the 53 F-5 Tiger jets are already no longer suitable for “real operations” (26 still fly regularly). The anti-aircraft missiles are operational until 2025, he says.
The Federal Council has not revealed how exactly it wants to spend the CHF8 million, the biggest arms procurement programme in modern Swiss history. It has tasked the defence ministry with evaluating potential jets, wanting it to begin talks with Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, Lockheed Martin and Saab.
Will voters – who in 2014 rejected spending CHF3.1 billion on 22 Gripen fighters – have the final say? That’s still to be decided. “The situation today is totally different,” reckons Parmelin, saying there’s no alternative and that this was the only way to protect Swiss airspace.
Here are the jet models being considered so far for purchase by the Swiss government: