The Swiss Federal Council have announced that the Lockheed F-35 Lightning is the aircraft selected from its New Fighter Aircraft competition.

“We are honored to be selected by Switzerland and look forward to partnering with the Swiss government, public, air force and industry to deliver and sustain the F-35 aircraft,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program.

“With the selection, Switzerland will become the 15th nation to join the F-35 program of record, joining several European nations in further strengthening global airpower and security.”

The Swiss Air Force will receive F-35A aircraft, a sustainment solution tailored to Swiss autonomy requirements, and a comprehensive training program.

Lockheed Martin say that the F-35 selection will deliver economic and technical advantages to the nation for decades to come.

“Swiss industry will have the opportunity to participate in research and development, production and sustainment opportunities that will extend their capabilities into the future. As a new participant in the F-35 program, Switzerland will benefit from Lockheed Martin’s dedication to autonomy and sovereignty in integrating indigenous solutions.”

To date, the F-35 operates from 21 bases worldwide, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil. There are more than 655 F-35s in service today, with more than 1,380 pilots and 10,670 maintainers trained on the aircraft.

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Alan Reid
Alan Reid
17 days ago

The US aerospace industry sweeps up Europe once again! Finland next no doubt.

F-104, F-16 ……… now F-35. History does have a habit of repeating itself.

BAE (and Dassault) products too late to market – and not quite good enough.

geoff
geoff
17 days ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

Hi Alan. I wouldn’t be took keen to advertise for the F 104 considering its appalling record with the Lutwaffe but still the Americans make great aircraft and can produce them en masse considering the size of their home market.. It is a pity that European nations cannot always get it together in co-operating but I think you are a little harsh in your condemnation of Bae and Dassault. The F35 has had some serious problems-technical,operating costs,major build cost over runs and significant delays. Let’s hope Bae get it right with Tempest. The British have never lacked brilliant engineers and… Read more »

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
17 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Hi geoff, I agree – brilliant engineers, but often, by the time a product is brought to market, others (ie Americans) have caught-up – and bettered it. Example: Barnes Wallis devised the swing-wing concept in the mid-1950s (Swallow etc) – but the pedestrian British were the last country to bring it into service (Tornado 1980) – well after the Americans and the Russians! Having developed the V/STOL Harrier – we bought the next generation (Harrier II/GR5/7/9) from McDonnell-Douglas! We took over 25 years to bring Typhoon from concept into service. A great aircraft – but the Americans leapt ahead with… Read more »

Last edited 16 days ago by Alan Reid
Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
16 days ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

Typhoon’s problems stem from too much foreign involvement

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
15 days ago
Reply to  geoff

The slow pace of European development is because of the need for a single product to match the requirements of all participants, whereas the Americans only have to worry about their requirements and historically only that of one branch. After that’s done it’s an easy pick for importers between an in service product and one that’s still having workshare negotiations.

If each European airforce was as large as the US’s you could bet on a very different picture.

Chris
Chris
15 days ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

As the one and only Tier-1 partner, the U.K. should be invested in the success of the F-35. Much of the airplane comes from BAE and the UK (about 15%).

The same cannot be said about the Gripen, F18 or Rafael.

The Swiss have said the networking capability of the F-35 allows 2 aircraft to conduct a more thorough air patrol than 4 4th gen aircraft.

John N
John N
17 days ago

Another F-35 user nation joins the fold, and despite negative press from certain quarters and of course the hate from the usual suspects too. Unit costs of the F-35A have decreased significantly from LRIP-1 US$221.2m (excluding engine) to LRIP-14 US$77.9m (including engine). Obviously sustainment and operating costs are still high, no sugar coating that, but it does appear to be slowly heading in the right direction. I’ve seen comments on various defence blogs asking why the Swiss chose the F-35A, why? I think there is a very simple answer, any first world Air Force updating their combat aircraft fleet ‘today’… Read more »

Trevor Holcroft
Trevor Holcroft
17 days ago
Reply to  John N

Yes.
Is it really sensible for the RAF to get any more Typhoons before Tempest comes along?

NIC
NIC
17 days ago

I suppose the answer to this depends on the amount of aircraft both F35 and Typhoon that the RAF needs to cover its present and future commitments.
Another deciding factor is will Tempest reach production and will RAF get the amount they order .

MikeB1947
MikeB1947
16 days ago
Reply to  NIC

When it eventually goes into production, will the Tempest have something (eg; performance, avionics etc) that will outclass the F-35 and/or anything else the US defence industry can throw into the ring. Otherwise, just like many other UK military aircraft of the past, customers will be limited to the RAF and a handful of other nations.

Karl
Karl
3 days ago
Reply to  NIC

Tempest is and will remain a pipe dream. UK Inc is broke. When the present government are replaced, and they will be, its going to be a coalition. The first things they will cut will be defence programmes.

expat
expat
13 days ago

Problem is Typhoon lines run dry next year when Qatari orders are complete. So UK will no longer produce finished fast jets until Tempest goes into production, in the mean time we’ll only make parts for German typhoons. So if we want to keep skills we should order more Typhoons, if we were producing our last Naval Ship next year with a gap of years to the next one there would be uproar 🙁

Last edited 13 days ago by expat
TrevorH
TrevorH
13 days ago
Reply to  expat

Yes.
When will the first preproduction Tempest be built?

Expat
Expat
13 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

As I understand the first prototype is to fly 2025. But a prototype will not be built in the sane way as a production airframe. A handful of prototypes will be built. 2035 is when the first production Tempest fighters will come into service so production line will start 2034 imo. We’re looking at a 10 year gap at least.

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  John N

The larger the international group, the lower everyones operating cost ‘should’ go.

I’m not sure it’s a great fit for Switzerland, but as we all know, combat aircraft procurement has four forces working against it, lift, thrust, drag and most importantly … politics!

The obvious choice for Switzerland, would be Gripen E, it’s as close to perfect for their real requirements.

Still, as John said, welcome to the club…..

John N
John N
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I don’t get the Gripen E is the ‘right fit’ or is ‘perfect’ reasoning, why exactly?

Procuring a new combat aircraft today that will enter service between 2025 and 2030, is still going to be that nations front line combat aircraft well into the 2050s.

If there was a European conflict in a decade or two from now, what Combat jet would you like your arse strapped into? A Gen 4/4.5 or Gen 5 aircraft?

If if was my arse on the line it would be the Gen 5 aircraft without question.

Cheers,

Last edited 17 days ago by John N
John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  John N

Gripen E…..

Well John, it is perfectly capable of ripping anything Ivan can throw at it out of the sky, now and in 20 years time.

An excellent radar, outstanding in fact, with a wider field of view than any fixed array can muster.

Excellent integrated avionics, weapons that are class leading, an airframe perfectly adapted for an alpine mountainous country, far lower procurement costs and vastly cheaper to operate than an F35 can ever dream of achieving.

There’s a few good reasons John.

John N
John N
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Doesn’t matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig.

Or more accurately it’s still a Gen 4.5 aircraft, no matter how much shiny chrome work bolted to it.

Cheers,

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  John N

Gripen E is a pig … Sweeping statement there, what makes you think that…

John N
John N
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I think you’ve missed the point, completely missed the point.

No matter how good a Gripen E is, it’s still a Gen 4.5 aircraft, doesn’t matter how much future development goes into it, it’s still a Gen 4.5 aircraft, it will be today and in 30 years too.

Is that a clear enough explanation?

John Clark
John Clark
16 days ago
Reply to  John N

Not really John, I think you are missing the point to be honest….

Does Switzerland require a first day of war, stealth strike aircraft …. Or an excellent and reliable air defence asset with a robust strike capability……

Gripen E is perfectly capable of taking on anything Russia can throw at it, now and for years into the future, who is the enemy that you feel Switzerland will strike at with an all singing and dancing stealth strike aircraft ????

John N
John N
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Obviously I’m not getting through to you, but anyway, each to their own….

If the Swiss have decided after their competition that a Gen 5 aircraft is the way to go, then that’s their decision, true?

As for the ‘future’, isn’t it smarter to procure and operate the most advanced and capable pieces of defence equipment you can afford?

Or is just good enough, good enough?

DJ
DJ
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

If Gripen E couldn’t get past the public referendum, I very much doubt the F35 can.

Meirion X
Meirion X
16 days ago
Reply to  DJ

The Swiss Gov. will say in the campaign, they will be procuring the best aircraft that money can buy. The Swiss will love that!

Deep32
Deep32
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Yes, it’s certainly an odd choice, given that they are really a neutral country, with a small air force which is tasked with keeping sovereignty of its airspace and air defence – like you say why all the bells and whistles type?
It might well be that the entire package (including Patriot system) which swung things in favour of this buy. I agree with you mate, they don’t need the F35 per se, other alternatives are available, but then again, it’s their money so their choice I suppose!

Dern
Dern
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

The Swiss are not interested in taking on the Russians, and never will be. You need to get yourself out of a NATO/EU headspace when looking at the Swiss defence policy.
They are interested in a first day of the war aircraft that will make any other airforce (ideally including the US) take pause before crossing their borders.

Steve R
Steve R
17 days ago
Reply to  John N

Well seeing as the USAF is retiring their F22s from 2030 and ordering approx. 200 F-15EX – a 4.5 gen aircraft, I think that says that gen 4.5 aircraft are certainly not obsolete or pigs with lipstick on.

John N
John N
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

Sorry but you are completely wrong.

The F-15EX will replace old worn out F-15C, eg, like for like.

The Gen 5 F-22 will eventually be replaced by the Gen 6 NGAD.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_Generation_Air_Dominance

Steve R
Steve R
16 days ago
Reply to  John N

I know that.

I never said the F-15EX would be replacing the Raptor, simply that the USAF is ordering 200 more whilst retiring the F22.

Clearly they have more faith in the Gen 4.5 F-15EX than in the Gen 5 F22. Otherwise, why not replace the F-15Cs with more F35s?

The fact is that Gen 5 aircraft are expensive to produce and to maintain, too much to justify having an all-Gen 5 fleet. The best bet is a mix of Gen 5 or 6 aircraft with 4.5 planes.

John N
John N
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

Ahhh… but you neglected to say that F-15EX was replacing worn out F-15C, true? One of the reasons, or justifications, I’ve seen reported is that by replacing the C fleet with EX is that there is already the training and infrastructure in place for the Eagle, simpler and quicker for the USAF to ‘plug’ the replacement airframes in. And let’s not forget that there is often a lot of politics involved in US procurement, eg, this keeps Boeing ‘fed’ by continuing orders, all those extra years of procuring Super Hornets is a good example. In any event, the USAF is… Read more »

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
16 days ago
Reply to  John N

Hi John N
I agree with your argument – from reports, F-35 appears to be a revolutionary design, and a shift in situational awareness – the key to success in aerial-combat. On that basis, why would you invest your limited resources in a Gloster Gladiator rather than a Spitfire.

Indeed, I’m not really sure Gripen is a 4.5 gen aircraft. But there is a bit of a bromance on this site with all things Swedish!

(I’m only joking lads!)

John N
John N
16 days ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

Hi Alan,

Yes I‘ve noticed that too, maybe some have shares in IKEA and/or SAAB?

Ha ha!!!!

Dern
Dern
16 days ago
Reply to  John N

Switzerland rejected the Gripen E before the contest even started. They’re choices where Rafale, F-35, Eurofighter or more F-18’s.
If Gripen was a good choice for the swiss they wouldn’t have excluded it from the competition.

The Swiss Airforce also has a long tradition of buying modern high end airframes, rather than older, proven, “cheep and cheerful” models, going back as far as the BF-109, which they bought only a year after it entered service.

John Clark
John Clark
16 days ago
Reply to  Dern

They certainly did Dern, an entirely political move…. I would suggest those that haven’t, actually look at the capabilities of Gripen E, it’s an extremely capable aircraft…. As for Swiss, so called independence, consider the politics behind the F35 move, there is not the slightest chance, none, zero, sod all, that the US would consider selling the F35 to any country who’s loyalty was in doubt in any way. Turkey is a fully paid up NATO member and they had their F35 order pulled. So any semblance of Switzerland being an non aligned nation is effectively finished, announced with a… Read more »

Dern
Dern
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it entirely political. Oh and as for decrying that buying F-35 means that there are politics behind it… uh no… again the Swiss have a history of buying what they consider the best and then promptly using what they bought to tell the sellers to stay away. And you’re dreaming if you think that Switzerland is becoming “aligned.” By your logic you could have said the exact same thing about any aircraft buy by the Swiss for the past 50 years. The Swiss will happily continue to store anyones money, stay out… Read more »

Last edited 16 days ago by Dern
John Clark
John Clark
16 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I disagree, as usual, but hay ho Dern, have a nice day….

Dern
Dern
15 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

So nothing to back up your disagreement, I’m shocked.

John Clark
John Clark
15 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Not much point Dern, you must be a car salesman’s dream buyer, totally sold on Lockheed Martin sales patter..😀 Upgraded Typhoon with the latest systems and Radar2, will be every bit as capable as the F35. It will have detection rangers in considerable excess of its LM team mates, powerful active jamming, plus avionics and weapon systems to deal with any threat, gen 4.5 or 5. LM is in high gear right now, sleeves rolled up and selling as many F35’s as they can, before Gen6 makes it look decidedly old hat. They know they have a 5 year window… Read more »

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

See unlike you I can argue my point without resorting to using personal attacks like that.

Upgraded Typhoon might have as capable a radar (might in the future vs has now) but will never have the same low radar cross section. So that’s a non starter.

Gen 6 won’t be appearing until the 2030’s at the earliest, and if it’ll make Gen 5 look bad it’ll make Gen 4 look even worse, so why buy Gen 4 aircraft? At least get something that’ll be relevant for a bit longer.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
15 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Fully agree that the F35 sale is defacto alignment with NATO, same goes for RAF patrols over ROI.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
13 days ago
Reply to  John N

Interestingly the Swiss concluded that the F-35 was the cheapest upfront purchase cost but the least beneficial to the Swiss economy and the highest running cost.

geoff
geoff
17 days ago

Good news. Will Bae will still benefit to the tune of 15% of the work?

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
16 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Yes. Every rear fuselage built in the UK. Plus a host of other systems, defensive aids, ejection seats ect.

Ross
Ross
16 days ago

The truth is there is no lack of decent and cheaper fighters out there, Typhoon, Gripen, the venerable F16 ect. But the F35 effectively renders them at least ‘partially’ obsolete. That’s not to say I’m a huge fan of this bloated, overly complex and eye wateringly expensive F35 programme. But the fact is we either want a credible military or we pay for pure isolationist defence (which has never been a good strategy for a European nation).

John Clark
John Clark
16 days ago
Reply to  Ross

That’s an interesting one Ross. I agree to a point. Countries like the UK (Carrier requirements aside) require a first day of war, kick the door down capability against a sophisticated layered air defence system, because we will, without doubt, use it. Some countries find themselves in a difficult no man’s land, like Denmark ( who always answer the call), but their defence budget only allows a fleet of 30 F35’s! On a good day, they will be lucky to have 20 operational fighters when their fleets delivered. It’s a much harder thing to quantify for others. Take Gripen /… Read more »

Ross
Ross
15 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hi John, to be honest I agree with all your above, a it depressing really! They’ll come a point when we’ll have to seriously think about increasing the defence budget to something more serious, say 3% GDP (at the very least), so we can both keep up with said new tech, without decreasing the increasingly poultry number of men and equipment.

Jonathan
Jonathan
15 days ago

That 15% share of production is adding up to a lot of economic benefit to the U.K.

Maybe as an industrial strategy being a partner in every possible option could be a way forward.

Jonathan
Jonathan
15 days ago

Now I think this should be a lesson to Ireland, if Switzerland can manage to procure 5th generation fast jets, considering its arguably the one nation in Europe that has no real need for them at all ( as it’s totally surrounded on all sides by friends with big airforces). Then Ireland a nation that actually really has a coastline and airspace that needs adequately defending should be sorting its own air defence.

John Clark
John Clark
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Some here would disagree Johnathan, they appear to think Switzerland is poised to attack like a coiled spring…..

What a laugh. I wonder what the backroom offset deal is, it must be a fantastic offset!

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

How long have you spent living in Switzerland John?

Also thanks for the condescending summary, deliberately misrepresenting my argument, but hey ho, you always where quite rude.

Last edited 14 days ago by Dern
Watcherzero
Watcherzero
13 days ago

US Government Accountability Office has just warned that F-35 sustainment costs are going in the wrong direction (now as high as $38,000 per hour) and the US will have to either reduce its buy or reduce the operating hours because its well outside their budgeted resources, $150bn over their 2012 budgeted rebased lifetime sustainment cost. The F-35 operating costs will be $6bn per year overbudget by 2034 primarily $4.4bn on the air force F-35A. F-35B operating costs are 26% overbudget and F-35C 14% overbudget. Shockingly the report warns its not the parts that’s making them overbudget its the manhours required… Read more »