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Switzerland to test five fighter jets


The Swiss army starts Thursday at Payerne airbase tests of the five fighter jets in the running to succeed its current fighter aircraft F-5 Tiger and F / A-18 Hornet, announced the Swiss ministry of defense.


Switzerland to test five fighter jets including the F 35A Dutch F-35A (Picture source: US Air Force / Ministerie van Defensie)


The five aircraft tested will be the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen E (Saab), the French Rafale (Dassault), the European Eurofighter (Airbus) as well as the two US aircraft, the Boeing F / A-18 E / F Super Hornet and the Lockheed-Martin F-35A.

This is a wide choice, said the head of the Federal Department of Defense for the purchase of combat aircraft, Christian Catrina. All candidates have the same chances. No prior choices have been made and for now, the planes will not be compared with each other. This phase will take place during the second call for tenders.

The size of the fleet has not yet been calculated. It will be by the end of the year on the basis of expert reports for each aircraft. Current forecasts point to a total of 30 to 40 fighter jets. The second call for tenders will be launched next winter. The Federal Council will make its choice at the end of 2020, beginning of 2021.

Regarding the evaluation phase, all candidates will complete the same program, Bernhard Berset, head of the sub-project at the Federal Office for Armaments (Armasuisse), explained. The objective is to check the capacities of the aircraft and the data of the offers submitted by the different manufacturers.

The tests include eight missions with specific tasks. Performed by one or two combat aircraft, these missions will consist of 17 take-offs and landings. They will focus on operational aspects, technical aspects and special features.

In addition to the five combat aircraft, two long-range air defense systems are still in the race. The French consortium Eurosam and the American company Raytheon have submitted their offers.