Swedish Gripen, a US fighter and French Rafale are major contenders for the Swiss fighter aircraft but the Eurofighter has opted out without providing any reason, Swiss Defense Minister Ueli Maurer said Monday.
“The situation was critical for air policing and that the purchase of new fighter aircraft will be evaluated in 2017. The Federal Councillor (minister) also indicated the urgency of buying new fighter jets, as ten Tigers will have to be retired due to cracks,” The Ueli Maurer said while talking to Swiss RTS television.
This opinion was voices Saturday, on the sidelines of the Assembly of Delegates of the UDC party, almost a year after the Swiss people voted against buying 22 new fighters in a May 18, 2014 referendum.
Maurer believes that the updates provided for the FA-18 to extend their careers until 2030 or 2035 will not be sufficient if a conflict broke out in Europe, especially as there are only 32 of these aircraft. A new evaluation of options is therefore expected in 2017, the minister explained.
As for the types of aircraft that will be part of the selection process, he cited the Swedish Gripen, which was selected by the military before the purchase was refused. The Rafale and a US fighter aircraft should also be included, Maurer said, adding that the Eurofighter is no longer in the running without providing any reason.