Switzerland Signs F-35 Procurement Contract

F-35 Switzerland
File photo of A U.S. Air Force during the Air2030 evaluation. (Photo: Armasuisse)

With the deal now formalized, 36 F-35s will be delivered beginning from 2027.

The Swiss Government confirmed that the procurement program for the F-35 Lightning II has finally been signed on Sept. 19, 2022. The contract, with a value of 6.2 billion USD, will provide the Swiss Air Force with 36 F-35s to replace the current fleet of F/A-18 Hornets and F-5 Tigers. As we already reported, the F-35 emerged as the winner of the Air2030 evaluation program that was aimed at selecting the replacement for the Hornets and Tigers.

The National Armaments Director Martin Sonderegger and the Swiss F-35A Program Manager Darko Savic signed the contract at Armasuisse in Bern, while the US authorities have already signed the contract. The procurement, which lies within the limits of the maximum financial volume approved by the Swiss electorate, will also cover mission specific equipment, weapons and ammunition, a logistics package, mission planning systems, training systems and initial training, as well as the integration into the Swiss command and control system.

In addition to that, the government said that the two countries have negotiated a specific clause and signed a separate declaration which establishes the fixed price nature of the agreement. At the same time, the head of Air2030, Peter Winter, and the F-35 Program Manager, Darko Savic, signed the offset agreement with Lockheed Martin that will allow Swiss companies to receive contracts with a volume of around 3 billion USD.

The Swiss Federal Council based its decision on the extensive technical evaluation, which included four candidates for a new fighter aircraft (Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Boeing Super Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-35) and the F-35 achieved the highest overall benefit and at the same time the lowest overall costs. You can find all the details about the metrics used to evaluate all the contenders in this report we posted last year.

The Swiss Air Force has also announced on Mar. 24, 2022, that Switzerland has come to an agreement with the US government and has stipulated that up to 28 of the 36 aircraft in total will be produced in Italy by the Leonardo company. That means at least 24 aircraft will be made in Italy. For four aircraft, Lockheed Martin, as the manufacturer of the F-35A, is currently clarifying whether they can be finally assembled as part of an offset project at RUAG in Switzerland; if this is not possible, they will also be produced in Cameri.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.