Swiss citizens voted in favor of buying new fighter aircraft for an estimated 6 billion Swiss francs ($6.46 billion) in a referendum held on Sunday, September 27.
The referendum was unexpectedly close, with 50.2 percent of voters supporting the government’s plan for the replacement of Swiss Air Force’s ageing F/A-18 Hornets. Prior to the referendum, opinion polls had predicted the plan would win a majority approval.
The yes vote will allow the government to select a new fighter aircraft after it released a new tender in January this year. The Swiss defense ministry will choose between Germany’s Airbus with the Eurofighter proposal, France’s Dassault Rafale and Boeing with F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed-Martin with the F-35A. A decision is expected to be made next year.
Switzerland currently operates 30 Hornet aircraft that are going out of service in 2030. It also has the over-40-year-old F-5 Tiger jets that are currently being used only for training purposes.