Switzerland will begin testing five aircraft from bidders in order to replace its aging fleet of Boeing McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C and D Hornets and Northrop F-5 Tigers by 2025.
The new purchase is a part of Switzerland's Air2030 programme that includes aircraft and ground-based air defences worth up to 8 billion Swiss francs ($8.06 billion).
The country had received offers of five different fighter jets - Airbus's Eurofighter, Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault's Rafale, F-35As made by Lockheed-Martin and Saab's Gripen E, reuters reported Saturday.
"Testing and analysis phase has begun. From February to March 2019, specialists from (Swiss defence procurement agency) armasuisse and the Swiss Air Force will test the aircraft in simulators at facilities of the planes' manufacturers," the Swiss Defence Department said.
Between April and July, the planes will be in Switzerland for aerial and ground tests, with public viewing opportunities. Assessments will continue through 2020 before a decision is made.
Armasuisse had asked the planemakers to submit pricing for 30 or 40 planes, including logistics and guided missiles, among other criteria for the bids.
Switzerland last fought a short war in 1847. The country has struggled to convince its citizens to back a deal for new planes.
In 2014, around 52 percent voted against a 3.5 billion franc government proposal to buy 22 Gripen fighter jets from Saab.
Israel-based Elbit Systems will reportedly supply the Swiss army with radio communication systems worth over $200 million. Elbit announced on Tuesday that it had been selected by the Swiss army for the contract
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