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F-35 named as Switzerland’s next-gen fighter jet

F-35 named as Switzerland’s next-gen fighter jet

The Lockheed Martin-built aircraft has been selected after competing in a competition against alternative contenders.

The Lockheed Martin-built aircraft has been selected after competing in a competition against alternative contenders.

  The F-35A Lightning II is set to replace the Swiss Air Force’s ageing fleet of F-5 Tigers and F/A-18 Hornets over the next decade.

The Swiss Federal Council selected the Lockheed Martin-built aircraft following a competition which assessed the jet’s performance against three other contenders — Airbus’ Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault’s Rafale, and Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet.

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Lockheed has been tasked with delivering 36 aircraft, sustainment support, and a training services for an estimated CHF 6 billion (AUD$8.6 billion).

 According to the prime, Swiss industry would be provided with the opportunity to participate in research and development, production, and sustainment services.  

“We are honoured to be selected by Switzerland and look forward to partnering with the Swiss government, public, air force and industry to deliver and sustain the F-35 aircraft,” Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program, said.  

“With the selection, Switzerland will become the 15th nation to join the F-35 program of record, joining several European nations in further strengthening global airpower and security.”

Switzerland is among a host of other nations to procure the jet, including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Denmark and Canada.

Last year, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) accepted the 30th of 72 Lockheed Martin-built F-35A aircraft ordered by the Commonwealth government under the Joint Strike Fighter program.

All 72 aircraft are expected to be fully operational by 2023, with an option to expand the fleet to a maximum of 100 aircraft.  

In addition to ordering the F-35 aircraft, Switzerland announced it would also procure five Patriot fire units from Raytheon for an estimated $2.89 million.

This aims to build Switzerland’s ground-based air defence, with the Raytheon-built system beating out Eurosam’s SAMP/T platform.

[Related: HMS Prince of Wales hosts F-35B for the first time]

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