As Switzerland votes in favour of acquiring new fighter jets with a budget of more than $6.5billion, Washington was quick to take the opportunity to offer its F-35s and F-18s for the neutral country.
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The United States Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) in a press release on Wednesday announced the intent and determination of possible foreign military sales to the Swiss Government for the sale of forty F-35 fighter jets and related equipment, worth $6.58 billion.
Talking about the details of the prospective deal, the DSCA mentioned about various offering along with the 40 conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) jets, which included AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) kits, Mk-82 bombs, GBU-53 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs), and associated training and necessary equipment for these munitions.
Apart from these weapon systems, the deal also includes the onboard “Electronic Warfare Systems; Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence/Communications, Navigational, and Identification (C4I/CNI); Autonomic Logistics Global Support System (ALGS); Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS); Full Mission Trainer; Weapons Employment Capability and other Subsystems, Features, and Capabilities; F‑35 unique infrared flares; reprogramming center access; F-35 Performance-Based Logistics; software development/integration; flight test instrumentation; aircraft ferry and tanker support,” the press release said.
Spares, maintenance, and personnel training is also included in the deal. “The total estimated cost is $6.58 billion,” DSCA stated. “The proposed sale will also replace Switzerland’s retiring F/A-18s and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defence capability,” it added and mentioned that the sales would not alter the basic military balance in the region.
While this was the proposal for the stealth F-35 jets, interestingly, the proposal for even a reduced number of F-18 aircraft (36 units) and associated equipment is placed higher at about $7.5 billion.
Choosing the F-35s might look lucrative for the Swiss, however, it would be interesting to see which jet the country chooses. Many experts even suggest that the U.S. could be in a ‘clear desperation’ to sell the 5th-gen ‘flying computers’ by making the deal look a better option than purchasing the F-18s. Other contenders for Swiss fighter jet procurement are the Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Rafale.