Switzerland has signed a deal with the United States to purchase F-35A – DW – 09-20-2022

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Switzerland has signed a contract with the US government to purchase 36 F-35A fighter jets manufactured by Lockheed Martin. As the saying goes in a statement from the Ministry of DefenseProtection of the People and Sport, released on Monday, September 19, these fighter jets are to replace the current fleet of F/A-18 Hornets and F-5 Tigers.

The delivery of fighters to Switzerland is to take place from 2027 to 2030. The contract amount is 6.035 billion Swiss francs (converted: 6.2 billion euros), and thus falls within the maximum financing amount approved by the Swiss voters, the press release emphasizes.

In September 2020, a referendum was held in Switzerland on the general issue of the allocation of resources for the modernization of the country’s air force fleet. The National Council – the grand chamber of the Swiss federal parliament – approved on September 16 the signing of an agreement on the purchase of specifically American F-35A vehicles.

Meanwhile, in October last year, US authorities signed a contract to supply fighter jets to Switzerland.

Increase in the Swiss defense budget

The purchase of combat aircraft will be financed from the regular military budget for 2023, the entire re-equipment program of the air force will cost 9.552 billion francs, two-thirds of which is intended for F-35 aircraft of the American concern Lockheed Martin, indicates. Swiss online publication Swissinfo.

In June 2022 against the background wars in Ukraine The small chamber of the Swiss parliament, the Council of States, approved an increase in the budget of the Swiss armed forces by 300 million francs.

Opponents of buying F-35A fighters

Meanwhile, the deal to buy US F-35A fighters in Switzerland is considered politically controversial. Need spend public money the purchase of the F-35A is being questioned in particular by the Social Democrats, the Greens and members of the Group for Switzerland Without an Army (GSOA).

They supported the People’s Legislative Initiative Stop F-35 against the deal. However, Swiss voters have not yet had the opportunity to express their views on this issue in a referendum, despite the fact that enough votes have been gathered to carry it out.

Opponents of the purchase of F-35A aircraft argue that the decision to allocate 6 billion Swiss francs for the renewal of the country’s air force fleet was taken with a majority of only 50.1% of the vote. At the same time, it was not specifically about the purchase of F-35 fighters.

Supporters of the Stop F-35 initiative also believe that these aircraft were developed specifically for NATO and are not suitable for neutral Switzerland.

The Swiss government, for its part, indicates that there is not enough time to hold a referendum on the initiative, because otherwise the expiry of the current option for these aircraft would have disrupted the modernization plan of the country’s air force.

Also see:

How Swiss interest in Belarus turned into sanctions

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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