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France’s Thales wins Swiss air surveillance contract


The order will replace the current Florako system that has been monitoring Swiss air space round-the-clock since 2005.

(Keystone / Str)

Switzerland has chosen Thales with Skyview as its new airspace surveillance and flight operations system.

According to the announcement by armasuisse, (Federal office for defence procurement) on Thursday, Thales’ command and control system was chosen for its value for money and the Skyview system was the one that best met the Swiss military’s requirement.

It beat out two other competitors – American Raytheon and Swedish Saab – to clinch the deal after 12 months of testing in Switzerland. The request to acquire the new system will be made to the parliament.

Currently Switzerland uses the Florako airspace surveillance and control system that has been monitoring Swiss air space round-the-clock since 2005. It comprises a Ralus radar system (that collects the data and provides the image of the air situation) and a Lunas communications system (that reproduces all the data on the screen to enable the planning of military maneuvers).

Florako is intended to identify civilian and military aircraft (planes, helicopters and drones) and to conduct Air Force operations, including ground-to-air defence.

Air 2030

The new air surveillance system “C2Air project” is part of the army’s Air 2030 procurement programme that includes contracts for the purchase of around 40 new fighter jets, a ground-based air defence system and radar. 

The total budget for Air 2030 is CHF8 billion (a little over $8 billion) with the fighter jets alone accounting for CHF6 billion.

In contention for the Swiss fighter jet contract are the French Rafale (Dassault), German Eurofighter (Airbus), and from the American side, the successor to the FA-18, the Boeing Super Hornet and the F-35A from Lockheed-Martin (Swedish Saab recently pulled their Gripen out of the competition). The contract for the air-defence system will be decided between Eurosam SAMP/T (France), Rafael David's Sling (Israel) and Raytheon Patriot (US).

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