Saab suffered a major setback yesterday after it lost public referendum to supply 22 Gripen aircraft to the Swiss.
The aircraft-maker was defeated by a "no" vote representing just over 52% of respondents.In a statement released after the result, Saab says this "means that the Gripen E procurement process in Switzerland stops".
Responding to the outcome, Swiss federal councilor Ueli Maurer warns, "This decision will cause a security gap. We will do everything we can to fill this gap in these difficult circumstances as quickly as is possible. Different options on how best to ensure the armed forces operational readiness must be considered in the next few months."
He also added that "it will be some time before new proposals are submitted on how to protect Swiss airspace after the anticipated decommissioning of the [Boeing] F/A-18s in 2025. The federal council and parliament will then be required to decide on filling the security gap."
“We respect the process in Switzerland, and do not comment on today’s outcome," says Saab chief executive Håkan Buskhe. "Following selection in 2011, hundreds of business relationships in Switzerland have been created through the Swiss industrial participation programme, which was created in relation to the Gripen E procurement. These are relationships we look forward to continuing as long as possible.”
Saab adds that of the more than 500 supply deals arranged with 125 Swiss businesses in support of the planned deal, "contracts placed will be honoured, subject to their terms and conditions."