The U.S. government and Lockheed Martin submitted an F-35 proposal to the Swiss government in support of Switzerland’s New Fighter Aircraft (NFA) competition on November 18.
The F-35 proposal is a total package offering that includes up to 40 F-35A aircraft, a sustainment solution tailored to Swiss autonomy requirements, and a comprehensive training program, the company said.
The offering includes an industrial package providing Swiss industry substantial F-35 work opportunities. Should the F-35 be selected as the new fighter for Switzerland, this industrial work would take place in all Swiss regions. Swiss industry has the opportunity to compete for direct production of components for use on all F-35s produced, sustainment projects focused on supporting the Swiss Air Force and enhancing Swiss autonomy, and cyber security projects directly related to the F-35.
The offer uses the F-35 Global Support Solution for sustainment to ensure Switzerland benefits from the European F-35 economies of scale to realize lower sustainment costs for the Swiss Air Force. It also includes a six-month spares package to ensure the Swiss Air Force has the ability to conduct autonomous operations, if needed.
Lockheed Martin is also offering an option for the assembly of four aircraft in Switzerland to ensure the Swiss Air Force and Swiss industry gain an understanding of how to maintain the F-35 airframe and its advanced capabilities for the life of the program.
Switzerland’s New Fighter Aircraft Contest
In July 2018, Switzerland invited five companies - Saab (Gripen), Dassault (Rafale), Airbus (Eurofighter), Boeing (Super Hornet) and Lockheed Martin (F-35A) - to submit their bids to replace its ageing fleet of fighter jets and ground-based defences under its Air 2030 Program. The manufacturers had 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.
Switzerland wants to have a single price for four additional aircraft, with a budget of 6 billion Swiss francs. It is asking for an offset commitment of 60% of the purchase price.
The new aircraft would replace the current Northrop F-5 Tigers and F/A-18s which are scheduled to be retired in the 2020s.
Switzerland last fought a short war in 1847. The country has struggled to convince its citizens to back a deal for new planes. This September, Swiss citizens today voted to approve the purchase of CHF6 billion ($6.4 billion) worth fighters by the country’s air force that had been challenged to a referendum by pacifists and left-wing political parties.