Switzerland signed a controversial contract on Monday to buy 36 US F-35 stealth fighter jets at a cost of more than six billion francs ($6.2 billion).
“National Armaments Director Martin Sonderegger and the Swiss F-35A Program Manager Darko Savic signed the procurement contract on 19 September 2022 at armasuisse in Bern,” said armasuisse, the country’s arms procurement agency.
“With this, the procurement of 36 F-35A is contractually agreed,” it added.
The selection of the F-35 by the Swiss government in June 2021 sparked some controversy, particularly in light of the cost-overruns of the fighter programme in the United States.
But a Swiss parliamentary investigation did not call into question the selection of the fighter.
The Swiss government and parliament also short-circuited holding a referendum on the plane’s purchase despite enough signatures being collected to put the issue to voters, saying there was not enough time to do so before manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s offer expires.
But Swiss voters had already narrowly approved in September 2020 spending six billion Swiss francs to replace the country’s fleet of ageing F/A-18 Hornets and F-5 Tigers.
The F-35s will be delivered between 2027 and 2030.
Switzerland joins a growing number of European countries which have opted for the stealth multi-role combat aircraft, including Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland.
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Path clear for Swiss purchase of US F-35 fighters
Geneva (AFP) Sept 15, 2022
Swiss lawmakers voted Thursday to proceed with the controversial purchase of F-35 fighter jets without holding a referendum sought by opponents of the deal.
The lower house National Council gave the government the go-ahead to buy the 36 aircraft from US manufacturer Lockheed Martin by a large majority.
The upper house, the Council of States where Switzerland’s cantons are represented, has already approved the acquisition.
The Swiss government said last month it planned to go ahead with the a … read more