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Voting campaign started - the procurement of new fighter jets is essential for Amherd

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  • On September 27, the Swiss people will vote on the purchase of new combat aircraft.
  • Defense Minister Viola Amherd has opened the voting campaign.
  • She argues with the constantly deteriorating security situation.

Rising tensions between the great powers, armed conflicts, the terrorist threat, the weakening of international organizations, cyber attacks and, most recently, the pandemic: Covid-19 has made it clear that calm and stable situations could quickly turn into the opposite, Amherd said, according to the speech in front of the Bundeshaus media .

Because such threats cannot be foreseen, Switzerland needs a security system that allows the necessary measures to be taken depending on the threat. "This also includes protecting the population from attacks from the air," said the Defense Minister.

Obsolete fleet

In order for this to be possible in the future, today's combat aircraft would have to be replaced. The F-5 Tigers have been in service for four decades and only fly when the weather is nice; the F / A-18s can be used until 2030 at the latest. "Our aircraft are technically outdated and have reached the end of their useful life," said Amherd.

It is not yet clear which fighter jet will replace the obsolete fleet. The stealth aircraft F-35 from Lockheed Martin, the F / A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing, the Rafale from the French manufacturer Dassault and the Airbus aircraft Eurofighter are in the running.

The Federal Council will presumably determine the type of aircraft at the beginning of 2021. Only the principle of buying new combat aircraft and a cost ceiling of 6 billion francs will be voted on. In addition, the planning resolution stipulates that 60 percent of the purchase price must be compensated by orders to Swiss companies.

Unlike in the case of arms deals, parliament has made this subject to an optional referendum. The group for a Switzerland without an army (Gsoa), the Greens and the SP have collected signatures.

No alternatives

If the electorate approves the arms business, the first new jets should take off in 2025. The procurement is expected to be completed in 2030. This is complex, which is why the renewal of the air force must be tackled now, said the Defense Minister.

The Federal Council had examined various alternatives and rejected them. This includes buying lighter fighter jets, which would cost significantly less. According to Amherd, such aircraft are not even suitable for the air police service because they do not fly high enough and do not have the necessary radars and the right armament. The same applies to drones and helicopters.

«Sensible and necessary»

According to Amherd, an alliance with neighboring countries cannot guarantee Switzerland's security either. She cites reasons of neutrality for this. In addition, it is a question of solidarity that Switzerland protects its own airspace, she said.

I am convinced that investing in the security of our country makes sense and is necessary.
Author: Viola Amherd Minister of Defense

The new combat aircraft are to perform essentially the same tasks as the F / A-18 fleet today: air police service, also to protect international conferences, control of the airspace in conflicts around Switzerland and defense of the airspace in the event of an attack. "I am convinced that investing in the security of our country is sensible and necessary," said Amherd.

SRF 4 News, June 26, 2020, 12 noon; sda / rehm; blac

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  • Comment from Lukas Gubser (Mastplast)
    77.5 million for an F-35 are actually insane little, if you consider what everything is in it.
    The Joint Striker Program is going well Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway are already partners in many other countries. Only the F-35 is modern, all the others except the flu are almost 30 years old in the concept. Already 550 pcs. are built and there will be many more, for me it is a good multi-purpose aircraft for Switzerland with its price-performance ratio.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from René Widmer (Widmer)
    A few years ago, Mr Mauer said that Switzerland doesn't need any planes. Too expensive. Then 22 were up for discussion, then around 30 and today we're talking about 40. Ms. Amherd thinks the planes are indispensable. A US general and air force specialist recommends Switzerland not to jets, but to reinforce ground air defense (although the Americans want to sell us planes!). Who and what should you believe? I agree no until a clear concept is available and it is clear what exactly we are buying.
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Lukas Gubser (Mastplast)
      With 6 billion francs you can currently get 77 F-35 A. Price falling sharply.
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. answer from Noah Schmid (Schmid)
      At least for the protection of sensitive facilities such as nuclear power plants, appropriately targeted ground air defense would undoubtedly be more effective than fighter jets.
      Agree agree to the comment
    3. Show answers
  • Comment from Alex Schneider (Alex Schneider)
    Fighter jets for hot missions: what exactly are they good for?
    "In 2019 (until November 14th), thanks to LP24, we were able to carry out 11 such« hot missions », thus making a significant contribution to safety and sovereignty in our airspace."
    What were the specific reactions of the controlled aircraft after the hot missions of the Swiss Air Force? What weapons does the Swiss Air Force have on board? In which cases are these actually used? Who gives which orders and when?
    Agree agree to the comment

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