Swiss defence procurement agency Armasuisse has received bids for the replacement of its ageing fighter jet fleet from five major companies.
The bids were submitted by Airbus, French firm Dassault and Sweden’s Saab, as well as US-based companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Switzerland will choose from among Airbus’s Eurofighter, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault’s Rafale, F-35As made by Lockheed-Martin and Saab’s Gripen E.
The selected aircraft will replace its fighter fleet of Boeing McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C and D Hornets and Northrop F-5 Tigers due to retire in the coming years.
The government is planning to acquire new jets as part of its Air2030 programme, including aircraft and ground-based air defences expected to cost up to Sfr8bn ($8.06bn).
The Swiss Defence Department was quoted by Reuters as saying that the analysis and testing phase starts ‘from February to March 2019’ when ‘specialists from Armasuisse and the Swiss Air Force will test the aircraft in simulators’ at the facilities of the aircraft manufacturers.
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Prior to a final decision, the competing aircraft will be put through aerial and ground tests between April and July, and assessments through 2020.
The government is expecting the delivery of the new aircraft to be completed by 2025.
Armasuisse issued a request for proposal in July and has sought for a price quote for the delivery of 30 or 40 planes, including logistics and guided missiles from bidders.
Along with Gripen E, Saab offered Swiss industrial participation worth 100% of the contract value in manufacturing, maintenance and technology.
Saab aeronautics head Jonas Hjelm said: “The proposed Gripen E solution features the latest available technology and low acquisition, operation and support costs that will give Switzerland an optimal fleet size, with the best total operational effect over the coming decades.”