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Switzerland joins F-35 programme

Swiss National Armaments Director Martin Sonderegger and the Swiss F-35A Program Manager Darko Savic signed a procurement contract on 19 September for the delivery of 36 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighter aircraft.

The deal is valued at $6.1 billion and includes mission-specific equipment, weapons and ammunition, a logistics package, mission planning systems, training systems and initial training.

The aircraft will be delivered between 2027 and 2030 and will replace the Swiss Air Force’s current fleet of F/A-18 Hornets and F-5 Tigers.

The lower house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland approved the order for the F-35A fighters on 16 September.

“The American F-35A is the right aircraft for Switzerland,” argued Jacqueline de Quattro of the Liberals (FDP) party. “It’s the cheapest plane, the best from a technological point of view.”

Switzerland joins Canada, Finland and Germany who have also recently opted for the F-35.

The Swiss government chose the fighters in June following a competition which put the F-35 up against Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, France’s Rafale and the Eurofighter. 


Type:Stealth multirole fighter aircraft
Country of origin:United States
Manufacturer:Lockheed Martin
First flight:December 2006
In service:2016 – present
Operators:United States, Australia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Israel
Gross Weight:22,471 kg
Length:15.7 m
Wingspan:10.7 m
Height:4.39 m
Armament:1 × 25 mm GAU-22/A 4-barrel rotary cannon; 4 × internal stations, 6 × external stations on wings
Systems:AN/APG-81 AESA Radar; Electronic Systems AN/AAQ-37 Distributed Aperture System (DAS) missile warning system; AN/ASQ-239 (Barracuda) electronic warfare system; Harris Corporation Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) communication system
Engine:1 × Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 afterburning turbofan
Range:1,200 nmi
Maximum speed:Mach 1.6
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie is the founder and editor of Neil is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. He can be found on Twitter: @NeilRitchie86.

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