Barely hiding its disappointment over the choice of American F-35 over its European rivals, the French Ministry of Defence said the performance of its equipment (Rafale Jets) is demonstrated every day in operations.
“The (French) Ministry of the Armed Forces has taken note of the decisions announced today (June 30) by the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation concerning the Air 2030 modernization program. The Ministry takes note of these sovereign decisions which reflect a choice in favor of non-European equipment,” a French MoD statement said.
The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, reaffirms her full confidence in the quality of the equipment offered in this competition by French industry, the statement read. Besides the French armed forces, the Rafale jets are chosen by a growing number of France’s partners, it said.
In its recommendation to the Swiss Parliament the country’s Federal Council had cited several reasons for the selection of the F-35. “With 336 points, the F-35 showed the highest overall benefit and was the clear winner with a lead of 95 points or more over the other candidates. This aircraft scored best in three of the four main criteria evaluated,” the Federal Council said.
France has been at the forefront of European efforts to remove EU nations’ dependency upon U.S. weapons. French politicians had hailed the German selection of Eurofighter jets over the F-35 as a major victory for Europe.
European nations such as France, Germany and Spain have got together to develop the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), a futuristic fighter aircraft project that intends to rival the F-35 and a proposed six generation fighter jet the U.S. is developing.