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10:36 AM, July 10, 2018
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F-35 fighter jet is among the five aircraft for consideration by Switzerland (Image: Lockheed Martin)

Switzerland has invited five European and US companies to submit their bids to replace its ageing fleet of fighter jets.

The defense ministry has sent out the offer to Saab (Gripen), Dassault (Rafale), Airbus (Eurofighter), Boeing (Super Hornet) and Lockheed Martin (F-35A) for the Air 2030 program.

Under its Air2030 programme, Switzerland is aiming to procure new combat aircraft and ground-based defences in a programme valued at CHF8 billion ($8.1 billion), the ministry said in a statement Friday.

The new fleet would replace the current Northrop F-5 Tigers and F/A-18s which are scheduled to be retired in the 2020s

Armasuisse, the Federal Office for Defence Procurement, said it was asking the firms to submit pricing for 30 or 40 planes, including logistics and guided missiles, as well as an assessment of the number of aircraft necessary to fulfil the Swiss Air Force's needs.

The manufacturers have until January 2019 to submit an offer, after which the planes will undergo tests and a second tender round will be opened, with the plan to finish the assessment by the end of 2020.

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