Tag Archives: Air 2030

Switzerland Will Soon Select New Combat Aircraft To Replace Its F-18. The F-35 would be an odd choice. | Instant News


Next summer, the Swiss government will select one of four competitors to replace its aging fleet of F-5 Tigers and F / A-18 Hornets by 2030: Airbus’ Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault’s Rafale, Boeing’s F / A-18 Super Hornet, and Lockheed Martin

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F-35A. The F-35 is the only 5th generation option but given the needs of a small Alpine country, this is arguably odd.

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Surrounded by five European countries, Switzerland has a total land border of 1,151 miles. At a cruise speed (about 470 knots), an F-35A can fly north to south across the country in about 15 minutes and from west to east in about 24 minutes. Swiss Air Force F / A-18s routinely do so, fulfilling their air defense / air police mission.

The country’s longstanding commitment to neutrality means its air force is really just air defense. What it needed most were interceptors. Ironically, the F / A-18C is a multi-role aircraft as everyone in the quartet is vying to replace it, no more than the F-35. The irony lies alongside a divided population over acquiring new fighters.

In 2014, the Swiss public voted against the purchase of the Saab JAS-39 Gripens to replace the Hornets. The results were different last September. But it’s nail biting 50.1% of the roughly three million who voted “yes,” less than 9,000 more than those who voted “no,” to a size that culls $ 6.5 billion to buy 36 to 40 new aircraft.

Despite the green light, opponents have voted for the F-35 with Swiss Social Democratic MP Roger Nordmann. notify Swiss public television that “it is impossible to buy the American F-35, which is the most expensive”.

Given the situation and competition, what is Lockheed’s promotion to Switzerland?

In a Great Position

Perhaps surprisingly, cost is one of the competitive advantages that the Lockheed F-35 Swiss campaign manager, Jim Robinson, praised first.

“We are in a great position … We will come at or below the cost of 4th generation competitors so I think that makes us very competitive,” said Robinson.

He stressed that Lockheed’s proposal includes 40 aircraft (not 36 reported) at significant industrial offsets, priced in the $ 6.5 billion budget. He added that unlike its competitors, the F-35 will not require Switzerland to purchase additional accessories such as launch rails, targeting pods or special weapons interfaces, all of which are integrated into the F-35A.

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“The plane was ready on the first day. You don’t need additional mission equipment to add to the aircraft’s capabilities, ”said Robinson.

Lightning II is also headed in the right direction in terms of volume, support and cost per flight hour (CPFH), Lockheed’s campaign manager confirmed.

Currently, 13 countries operate more than 585 F-35s from 26 bases around the world. A growing number in Europe and the F-35 Final Assembly and Checkout Facility (FACO) near Cameri, Italy, provide synergy with potential Swiss maintenance / support operations.

The F-35 CPFH has become a topic among the program’s partner countries as well as Switzerland which recognizes it at $ 35,000 per hour, is almost twice as expensive as European and American competitors. Robinson denied that Lockheed was “on track” to lower CPFH to $ 25,000 by 2025, two years before Swiss deliveries will begin.

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The cost of flying hours is notoriously difficult to compute and compare but Robinson adds that a growing international fleet larger than the Eurofighter or Rafale will further lower the average.

Despite this, there are still doubts among the Swiss that the purchase of the F-35 will stay within budget. Given the F-35’s specific ground infrastructure requirements (hangar, ALIS support system, secure mission planning), additional costs were logically expected. Critics insist that this and others will push the bill for the F-35 $ 27 billion (CHF 24 billion).

Choices that are excessive or obvious

The F-35’s reputation is built on its ability to penetrate sophisticated air defense environments, attack, and provide networked information to other aircraft, land and sea platforms. As noted, the Swiss Air Force is not expected to do any of these things. Stealth and grid jets could be considered redundant for air surveillance missions.

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Robinson stressed that Switzerland’s upgrade program, called “Air 2030,” seeks combat aircraft that can deal with four decades of evolving threats (2030-2070). The F-35, he said, is the “best tool” for adapting to geopolitical and technological changes. He pointed out that Switzerland’s request for proposal specifically calls for the ability to reintroduce their pilots to the air-ground mission role and ISR capabilities.

What uses the possible advanced ISR capabilities for Swiss aircraft operating within or near Swiss airspace and what disruptions or transgressions of the system might collect data large enough for Switzerland’s neighbors seem to be a reasonable question.

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But Robinson argues that the F-35’s sophistication makes it the only viable candidate in broader air defense.

“In the Air 2030 upgrade program, they are looking for a joint air defense network. The F-35 in its quarterbacking role can provide valuable data when they are looking to upgrade their ground-based air defense system. ”

One might also question the value of stealth. As a former USAF F-16 pilot, Robinson said he “would be very happy if offensive air did not know where I was in my air defense role.”

But he realized that scanning Switzerland for air defense aircraft taking off from known locations was not a difficult task. “I understand,” said Robinson. “Some people don’t see stealth as a huge advantage. That may be true for the Swiss Air Force but it is an advantage. “

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Mark Gunzinger, senior analyst at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies for the Air Force Association, said the F-35A’s stealth was “a threshold requirement for air forces concerned about trends in enemy counter-attack capability.”

Its air combat management capabilities have future utility too, Gunzinger insists. This could include acting as a battle manager for the drone team. He added that the F-35’s air defense capabilities meet or exceed other candidates.

“This is supported by the many reports that have been published on its performance during the Red Flag and other exercises as a counterweight and combat management aircraft. In essence, the 4th gen-plus candidate lacks the level of survivability and potential to develop the mission that a true 5th generation fighter can offer that the F-35 can offer.

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Offset Offers

All Air 2030 competitors are doing industry offsets. In fact, the Swiss government requires selected providers to place orders for the value of a Swiss company 60% of the contract value.

In Lockheed’s case, the sweetener includes the opportunity to produce about 400 canopies and transparencies (canopy and glass frames) for the F-35 domestically. Switzerland will become a European hub for such work and take up unspecified engine and airframe maintenance projects for its own operations and possibly others.

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The company has worked with two Swiss optical suppliers and the additional opportunity could theoretically extend to other Swiss industries such as the distressed precision watch sector. Lockheed intends to define industrial cooperation further in the new year, according to Jim Robinson.

Switzerland will have access to the F-35 Information Center of Excellence, a domestic data center that allows Swiss companies to test their cyber capabilities in a secure environment and to view the information exchanged within the F-35’s network. Lockheed also offered, for an additional fee, Swiss defense contractor RUAG the opportunity to assemble four additional F-35s itself, building on the expertise for Swiss technicians who currently maintain the country’s Hornets.

The persuasion may not be enough to overcome promises from Airbus to assemble all 40 Eurofighter Typhoons with partner companies in Switzerland. Neighboring Typhoon operators such as Germany offer training opportunities away from noise-conscious Swiss in their own country. Boeing emphasized the cost advantages and structural continuity of the Super Hornet and reported, “Working with more than 100 current and new partners across Switzerland.”

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Dassault has not disclosed its Rafale prices or offsets, but historically the close ties between France and Switzerland and the daily cross-border business show France can have an edge.

From a purely practical and expedient standpoint, Switzerland’s decision to use the F-35A seems like a long one. Concerns about costs and current reluctance about American policy and arms sales factor in Swiss decision making.

However, so is the knowledge that it will take Europe 15 years at most to field its own 5th Generation fighter. Flying American equipment, as the Swiss Air Force does, brings interoperability and diplomatic benefits.

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Implementing a 5th generation stealth fighter for a straight forward counterattack defense mission may seem a contradiction in terms but Switzerland has a history of independent and often bizarre choices. They can make it again.

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Aircraft makers sweeten their offerings in the high-stakes Swiss warplane race | Instant News


COLOGNE, Germany and WASHINGTON – Four aircraft makers have submitted final bids for a $ 6.5 billion Swiss aircraft program, with Airbus and Lockheed Martin touting different approaches to assembling their aircraft locally.

November 18 is the deadline for a hopeful quartet of vendors, which also includes Boeing and Dassault, to deliver a vision – and pricing – for one of Europe’s largest procurement programs.

Switzerland is looking for between 36 and 40 new aircraft to monitor the country’s airspace. The level of participation of local industry is a major factor for Swiss people who are known to be independent-minded.

Airbus got help from four Eurofighter operators – Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK – who sent their ambassadors in Switzerland to a November 19 press conference to discuss prospects for a bigger industrial and political partnership that would follow Eurofighter elections.

Switzerland is expected to make a decision as early as summer 2021, following a referendum vote this September that narrowly illuminates the budget.

Airbus’ bid includes the final assembly of all aircraft via partner companies in Switzerland, details of which the companies will announce in December.

Michael Flügger, Germany’s ambassador to Switzerland, touted the possibility of cooperating in Eurofighter-based airspace patrols along the Italian-Swiss-German axis. In addition, he said, the joining of Switzerland with an airplane club means the country can “export” the noise of training flights to remote areas of other partner countries.

Franz Posch, who heads the Airbus campaign in Switzerland, told reporters that the company’s plans to assemble 40 notional planes locally would “more than meet” the offset requirements set by the Swiss government.

Lockheed Martin, with its F-35, also has high hopes for Swiss competition, hoping to expand the aircraft’s user base in Europe. The company’s offer includes a basic program of 36 jets, with options for four additional aircraft, said Mike Kelley, who is leading the company’s F-35 effort in Switzerland, at a Nov. 19 round table meeting with reporters.

While Switzerland will be able to buy parts through a spare parts pool shared by all F-35 operators, the offer also contains a six-month-used spare parts package – a separate spare part pot to be managed by the Swiss government, necessary to meet Swiss autonomy requirements. .

To meet industry participation requirements, Switzerland will have the opportunity to domestically produce about 400 canopies and transparencies for the F-35 aircraft, and Lockheed will establish a European center for maintenance, repair and overhaul of the F 35 canopy and transparency in Switzerland. In addition, the country will undertake specific F-35 engine and airframe maintenance projects focused on maintaining the operational autonomy of the Swiss Air Force, Kelley said.

Lockheed also plans to partner with Swiss industry to create a cyberspace excellence center, which will prototype a unique data network for Switzerland and build a test site that will allow Swiss companies to test cyber capabilities in a secure environment.

On top of these efforts, Lockheed is offering Switzerland one final industry participation opportunity. For an additional fee, Switzerland will be able to carry out the final assembly of four F-35 aircraft at the existing RUAG facility in Emmen, enabling Swiss technicians currently working on its aging Hornet fleet to build deeper knowledge of aircraft design.

The options will add “significant costs” to the total program, said Kelley, but could allow for overall savings over the life cycle of the program.

Boeing, meanwhile, has positioned its offering of its F-18 Super Hornet fleet as a logical extension of Switzerland’s existing F-18 infrastructure. “As an F / A-18 operator, Switzerland will have the option of reusing up to 60 percent of its existing physical and intellectual infrastructure, making the transition to the Super Hornet easier and more cost-effective over the life of the aircraft,” the company said in a statement.

The aircraft offer, the statement added, would “easily fit” into Switzerland’s current F-18 operating budget.

The cost reference came after Swiss officials stressed that the fighter aircraft portion of the Air 2030 air defense modernization program includes a cost ceiling of 6 billion Swiss francs (US $ 6.6 billion), taking into account potential price cuts along the way.

“Currently, Boeing is working with more than 100 current and new partners across Switzerland to identify the right opportunities for the new Fighter Aircraft industry plans,” the company said.

Dassault France, with its bid for the Rafale, was the only vendor who kept his cards close to his chest. Citing a commitment to confidentiality, a spokesman told Defense News that the company had no plans to describe its offer or the “nature of the relationship” between the Swiss and French governments for that purpose.

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Switzerland approved a potential F-35, F-18, Patriot buy worth billions | Instant News


WASHINGTON – The US State Department has previously allowed Switzerland to purchase the F-35A and F / A-18E / F Super Hornet fighters, just days after a public vote approved the Swiss government to proceed with planned procurement. new fighter aircraft.

However, the potential package is not a sign that Switzerland has decided Boeing’s Lockheed Martin F-35 or F / A-18 is their future fighter. Rather, the announcement was a bureaucratic move by the State and the DSCA to ensure that, if the jet was selected, there would be no delay in clearing the stealth fighter. The DSCA has previously done so with the F-35’s request from Belgium and Canada.

The F-35 package comes with an estimated price tag of $ 6.58 billion, while the F / A-18 package is priced at $ 7.452 billion. Both amounts, if they represent final figures – and the DSCA notices often do not – will exceed the $ 6.5 billion budget approved for the program.

In addition, the State has freed Switzerland to purchase Patriot air defense systems, a competitor to free ground-based capabilities. The five Patriot batteries come with a price tag of around $ 2.2 billion.

A national referendum on Sept. 27 approved plans to resume procurement, along with $ 2 billion for additional ground-based air defense systems, narrowly approved by 50.1 percent of voters, with a margin of only 8,670 votes.

Switzerland’s “Water 2030” program, covering an estimated $ 6.5 billion to buy 30-40 new planes to safeguard the country’s airspace, has the F-35A and Super Hornet facing off against the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale. Saab Gripen is also taking part, however came out last summer based on the criteria of the Swiss government.

All vendors must meet the November 18 deadline for submitting final proposals. The government will then evaluate the offer throughout the first half of 2021 and make a decision on aircraft types and missile defense hardware in June.

Sebastian Sprenger in Cologne, Germany contributed to this report.

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The plan for a $ 6.5 billion Swiss fighter jet passed the referendum | Instant News


COLOGNE, Germany – Swiss residents on Sunday approved a government plan to spend $ 6.5 billion on a new fighter by a margin of 8,670 votes, with two US vendors in the race feeling a reaction to anti-Trump sentiment.

The vote translated into a slim majority of 50.1 percent, or 1,605,700 votes, in favor of the acquisition, with 49.9 percent, or 1,597,030 votes, against. The turnout rate is 59.4 percent, according to figures published online late Sunday by the Federal Chancellor.

Defense Minister Viola Amherd told reporters that he considered the outcome, however imminent, a mandate to continue the ongoing evaluation of the Eurofighter, Rafale, F-18 Super Hornet and F-35A.

“The vote is a long-term investment in the security of Switzerland’s population and infrastructure,” he said. Speaking by reporters about the narrowness of the vote, he said, “In a democracy, it is certain that we respect the decisions of the majority.”

The Swiss legislature last week approved a budget for 2030 Water modernization program, which includes $ 6.5 billion for 30-40 new aircraft and $ 2 billion for complementary ground-based air defense systems.

Amherd stressed that the aircraft budget should be seen as a ceiling. “If we can get a suitable plane at a lower price, we will definitely see,” he said.

All vendors must meet the November 18 deadline for submitting final proposals. The government will then evaluate the offer throughout the first half of 2021 and make a decision on aircraft types and missile defense hardware in June.

Opponents of the plan can still thwart it by seeking another referendum, a move that requires 100,000 signatures and could take years to unfold.

The Swiss opposition has been driven in part by voter views of US President Donald Trump’s administration, according to local media reports. During the pre-referendum campaign, two US vendors running for office, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, saw themselves united with their foreign policy approach, which many in wealthy European countries like Switzerland find reckless.

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Switzerland expands fighter aircraft 2030 Air RfP – Air Warfare | Instant News


Air warfare

Switzerland expands Air 2030 RfP fighter aircraft

The Swiss Federal Ministry of Defense, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS) has extended the time limit in Air 2030 RfP for combat aircraft from August to November 2020.

This delay has no impact on the overall procurement schedule, DDPS insisted in a May 12 statement, adding that the extension aims to give producers extra time to strengthen their offerings and overcome disruptions related to the COVID-19 virus caused by workers absent or travel restrictions.

The second bid request was issued in January 2020. As a result, a proposal from Germany (Eurofighter), France (Shooting) and US (F / A-18 Super Hornet and F-35A) received.

In the case of the Bodluv GR air defense system (another aspect of Air 2030), DDPS received an offer from France (Eurosam SAMP / T) and US (Raytheon Patriot).

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