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Tiger F-5 fighter jet Retiring Switzerland's ageing air force jets

Switzerland's fleet of Tiger F-5 fighter jets is getting old. Ten of the 36 planes currently in use by the air force are being retired. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

In May 2014 voters rejected the defence ministry’s $3.5 billion order for 22 new Gripen fighter jets from Swedish defence company Saab AB. 

The purchase was rejected on the grounds that buying and maintaining the 22 new Gripen planes would have added up to CHF10 billion, money that could be better spent on social security and education.

But the fleet of F-5 Tiger fighters currently in operation are becoming a problem. Checks of the fleet of 36 planes found cracks in the supporting structure of 16. The authorities decided to repair six of them and change how they use the other ten.

The 110 F-5 Tiger fighter jets were originally purchased by the Swiss Air Forces between 1978 and 1984. After these recent cuts only 26 will remain in operation.

The Patrouille Suisse, the Swiss Aerobatic team, is also affected by these changes and not always be able to operate with all the six red and white planes together.

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