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Switzerland finalizes deal for purchase of 36 F-35A fighters

Photo: US Air Force

The Swiss defense procurement agency armasuisse has signed an official contract with the US government for the procurement of 36 F-35A fighters.

The contract was finalized after the Swiss Parliament approved the funding for the buy on September 15.

Lockheed Martin, the developer of the fifth-generation fighter, will deliver the airframes from 2027 to 2030. Once operational, they will replace the current fleet of F/A-18 Hornets and F-5 Tigers.

The procurement contract for the purchase of the 36 F-35A amounts to 6 billion Swiss francs (approx. $6.2B), the defense procurement agency said.

In addition to the aircraft, the procurement costs for the F-35A also include mission-specific equipment, armament and ammunition, logistics packages, mission planning and mission evaluation systems, training systems and initial training. In addition, the costs for integration into the Swiss management and information systems are also included.

Switzerland originally selected the F-35A in the summer of 2021, announcing back then it would also be buying the Patriot air defense system as the successor for the Bodluv longer-range ground-based air defense (GBAD) systems currently in service.

The Swiss Federal Council said it based its decision on a comprehensive technical evaluation of four new fighter aircraft candidates (Eurofighter by Airbus, F/A-18 Super Hornet by Boeing, F-35A by Lockheed Martin, Rafale by Dassault, France) and two candidates for a longer-range GBAD system (SAMP/T by Eurosam, France; Patriot by Raytheon, USA).

The contract for the F-35 purchase was threatened by an alliance that gathered enough signatures to to force a popular vote on the purchase of F-35s this summer. The government, however, said the signatures were handed in too late, as a popular vote on the matter could take place after the offer deadline.