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US clears Patriot SAM, fighter aircraft sales to Switzerland

US Navy Super Hornet
Illustration. US Navy file photo of a Super Hornet aircraft

The US State Department has approved potential sales of Patriot surface to air missiles and F-35 and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft to Switzerland.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification of the potential sales comes after Swiss citizens voted in favor of acquiring new fighter aircraft in a referendum on September 27.

According to DSCA, Switzerland requested to buy 40 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and related equipment for an estimated cost of $7.45 billion. The Super Hornet mix would include 36 F/A-18E single seaters and four 4 F/A-18F tandem-seat variant fighters. Also included in the request were spare engines, M61A2 20MM gun systems, ATFLIR targeting pods, electronic warfare and other equipment, in addition to missiles and bombs.

Prime contractor would be Boeing, who has also delivered the F/A-18C/D Hornet that is currently in service with the Swiss Air Force.

Switzerland’s other request is for 40 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for an estimated cost of $6.58 billion. The F-35 option also includes spare engines, electronic and command and control systems, missiles and guided bombs.

The F-35 is delivered by Lockheed Martin.

In addition to the two fighter aircraft options, Switzerland has also expressed interest in the purchase of five Patriot surface to air missiles for an estimated cost of $2.2 billion. Should the deal be realized, Switzerland would become the 18 operator of the Raytheon-built air defense system.

The request includes Patriot Configuration-3+ modernized fire units, consisting of AN/MPQ-65 radar sets, engagement control stations, seventeen launching stations, and up to 70 Patriot MIM-104E guidance enhanced missile tactical (GEM-T) missiles.

Switzerland is currently evaluating Patriot as part of the Swiss air defense solution for the “Air 2030” program, which aims to replace the Bodluv extended-range ground-based air defense systems currently in operation.

In addition to Patriot, the country is evaluating France’s Eurosam with SAMP/T systems, while Israel’s Rafael, which was slated to offer its David’s Sling system, earlier withdrew from the competition.