icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Swiss govt announces bid for 36 F-35A fighter jets and Patriot missiles from US despite political pushback at home

Swiss govt announces bid for 36 F-35A fighter jets and Patriot missiles from US despite political pushback at home
The Swiss government has said it wants to buy 36 F-35A fighter jets from American manufacturer Lockheed Martin, a decision critics have said is too expensive for Switzerland and makes it overly reliant on the US.

Lockheed Martin beat other contenders for the contract, including the multinational Eurofighter built by Italy’s Leonardo, the Rafale from French company Dassault, and the Super Hornet from US manufacturer Boeing.

In its statement on Wednesday, the Swiss government also revealed it had decided to purchase the Patriot surface-to-air missile system from another US manufacturer, Raytheon, which beat competition from France’s Eurosam.

“An evaluation has revealed that these two systems offer the highest overall benefit at the lowest overall cost,” the government’s statement read.

“The Federal Council is confident that these two systems are the most suitable for protecting the Swiss population from air threats in the future.”

Also on rt.com Swiss scientists discover two new cell types in mouse brains, giving insight on brain repair mechanisms

A fleet of 36 jets would be enough to cover the internationally neutral, alpine nation during “prolonged situation of heightened tensions”, the government added.

A cap of six billion Swiss francs ($6.5 billion) has been set for the purchase of the jets, an amount which was backed by the public in a vote last year.

However, the conservative government’s pursuit of new fighter jets has drawn criticism from opposition parties, the center-left Social Democrats (SP), left-wing Greens, as well as the campaign organization, Group for a Switzerland Without an Army.

The groups have backed a public referendum on the Lockheed Martin deal, claiming that the jets are too pricey, not technically sound and can be monitored by US intelligence, thus threatening Switzerland’s neutral foreign-policy stance.

Also on rt.com Liberian rebel leader sentenced to 20 years in prison for war crimes including cannibalism in first such trial by Swiss court

“The American jets are simply too expensive,” SP member Priska Seiler Graf said in response to the government’s decision, noting that the upkeep costs over time would also be high.

“We should seek a European solution ... we don’t want to be dependent on the United States,” she added.

A referendum on the planned purchase of the F-35A fighter jets would not be the first such national poll in Switzerland. In 2014, the public voted to reject buying Gripen jets from Swedish manufacturer Saab.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.

Podcasts