June 30, 2021 (by Bjorn Claes) - Today the Swiss government announced that the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II has been the winner of the New Fighter Aircraft competition which was started last year to provide a successor the both the F-5E/F and F/A-18C/D fleet.
Switzerland will buy 36 F-35A's to replace their aeging F-5E/F and F/A-18C/D fighter fleet. In the competition the F-35A was flown against the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale and the Airbus Defence Eurofighter, The F-35A ultimately emerged as having 'the highest overall benefit at the lowest overall cost' according to the Swiss defense.
This deal has countered a lot of opposition since many argue that Switzerland does not need cutting-edge warplanes to defend the Alpine territory which a supersonic jet that can cross the country in under ten minutes. However this opposition was countered by the Swiss government in earlier statements. The F-35A 'achieved the best result because it has a marked technological advantage over the other candidates', while he total costs for the F-35A, at 15.5 billion Swiss Francs, was 2 billion Swiss Francs cheaper than the next lowest bidder, when it came to buying and operating the aircraft over their 30-year lifespan.
This fighter competition also included provisions for an aerial defense system which the Swiss saw as one compatible package to defend the countries airspace. Although this didn't amass much attention the Swiss also decided to buy the Patriot surface-to-air missile system from US manufacturer Raytheon. This system is the real successor of the Bloodhound SAM
system the Swiss deployed during the Cold War and was take out of service in 1999 only to be replaced by the Rapier short range missile system. With this buy the Swiss acknowledge the need for a lang range interception system together with a 5th generation aerial combat force