Ogi to meet US defence secretary for talks on more fighters

Switzerland is looking to buy at least another eight F/A-18 Hornet fighters Keystone

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, is due to meet the United States defence secretary, William Cohen, on Friday, to discuss the procurement of at least another eight F/A-18 fighter jets, to add to the Swiss contingent of 35 already in service.

This content was published on July 28, 2000 - 08:09

Ogi will be holding the talks in his capacity as defence minister.

He will explore the possibility of buying between eight and 11 American-built F/A-18 fighter planes. However, the aircraft in question would not be the very latest prototypes, as used by the US airforce, but older "second-hand" versions.

These combat jets would be in line with the type already used by the Swiss airforce.

A spokesman for the Swiss defence ministry said the aircraft on offer to Switzerland were "not outdated". He stressed that Switzerland could use these fighters for another 20 years.

He added that if Ogi clinched a deal on the planes, they would be upgraded later.

In February the defence ministry stated that it would not expand its existing F/A-18 fleet because "second-hand" fighters were not available at that time.

Also on Friday Ogi will be received at the Pentagon in Washington with full military honours.

On Thursday the Swiss president visited the US Marine Corps officer training school in Quantico, Virginia. He was shown around the college by its commander and two-star general, Gary Parks.

Ogi was reportedly impressed by the physical and psychological strength of the officer cadets.

He later visited the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he also inspected its recruits in a tour.

Ogi ends his three-day visit late on Friday.

swissinfo with agencies

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