Tag Archives: F-35

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

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


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.


“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.


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.


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.


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. “


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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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Lockheed Martin delivers the next three F-35Bs to the British Royal Air Force | Instant News

The three F-35B Lightning II short takeoffs and subsequent vertical landings left the Lockheed Martin production facility recently for the UK.

In a release Friday, Royal Air Force Group No 1 Command Air Officer Allan Marshall said the new stealth fighter jet would increase Britain’s fleet to 21 F-35s.

“Looking forward to their arrival in England in the coming days,” added the message.


According to the UK’s Royal Air Force website, the F-35B Lightning fighters are currently in service with the Typhoon. A multi-role machine, the Lightning is capable of simultaneously conducting air-to-surface, electronic warfare, intelligence gathering and air-to-air missions.

The fifth-generation fighter jet combines advanced sensors and a mission system with low-observation, or ‘stealth’ technology, which allows it to operate undetected in enemy airspace. Integrated sensors, sensor fusion, and data links provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness. Pilots can share the information the jet collects with other platforms using secure data links, and / or use that information to use weapons or electronic means.

The Lightning’s short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) capabilities allow it to operate from new ‘Queen Elizabeth’ class carriers and allied state ships, as well as short airstrips.


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Will Switzerland Buy the F-35? | Instant News

Switzerland, perhaps known as one of the calmest or least turbulent countries in recent geopolitical history, was able to earn as much as forty The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, thus joining a coalition of fast-growing nations committed to fifth-generation stealth aircraft.

Does this indicate something important? Certainly.

Anything Swiss flowers in a F-35that is to say, attractively reinforces these countries’ longstanding commitments to peace and neutrality. The stealth fighter is partly engineered to demonstrate a measure of air superiority to the point of deterring potential attackers, thereby maintaining the peace.

In recent years, Switzerland has maintained a stance of “armed neutrality”, meaning it supports the North Atlantic Treaty Organization peacekeeping mission but does not formally become a member of the alliance’s military. The state has maintained a “neutral” stance since 1815.

“The F-35 proposal is a total package offering that includes up to 40 F-35A aircraft, a sustainability solution tailored to Swiss autonomy requirements, and a comprehensive training program,” read a Lockheed statement.

From its strategic and tactical position or force posture, there are several reasons why the F-35 might be of interest. Initially, Switzerland’s consideration of the F-35 gave added credibility to the performance of an established aircraft in such exercises Air Force Red Flag a simulation in which the aircraft manages to destroy a large number of enemy platforms without being seen. Such dynamics may explain why the list of potential F-35 partners continues to grow rapidly beyond its original scope. Japan, Israel, South Korea, and maybe now United Arab Emirates are among the newcomers to the F-35 world. The possible acquisition also points to a changing global threat environment in which US expansionist rivals such as Russia and China themselves are rapidly acquiring fifth-generation platforms. China not only already has J-20 and J-31 fighters but also appears to be designing maritime J-31 variants to compete with the F-35B and F-35C.

While it may not be known whether competing Russian and Chinese fifth-generation aircraft actually rival the F-35 in terms of sensing, computing and attack technology, it is a reality that continues to inspire protection responses around the world.

There is yet another factor of interest to any possible Swiss decision, namely intelligence; F-35 partners will of course have the ability to network and operate with other countries’ F-35s. The F-35 operates with general data link allows sharing of information among all F-35s.

Also, not to be ignored, any arrival of the F-35 in Switzerland will inevitably have a significant economic impact on the country’s economy through the creation of jobs and possible technological advancements in the world of aeronautics, weapons and aviation, not to mention stealth. The Lockheed proposal seems well aware of this possibility, stating that “if the F-35 is selected as the new fighter for Switzerland, this industrial work will be carried out in all of Switzerland. Swiss industry has the opportunity to compete in direct production of components for use in all F-35s produced, maintenance projects focused on the support of the Swiss Air Force and increasing Swiss autonomy, and cybersecurity projects directly linked to the F-35. ”

To date, the F-35 has been selected by thirteen countries and operates from twenty-six bases around the world, with nine countries operating the F-35 in its home country. There are more than 585 F-35s in operation today, with more than 1,190 pilots and 9,750 maintainers trained on board, a Lockheed statement said.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn also worked as an announcer and broadcast military specialist on a national TV network. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Image: Reuters


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The US agreed to a possible sale of the F-35 and F / A-18E / F fighters to Switzerland | Instant News

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on Monday it had informed Congress of the possible sale of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F / A-18E / F Super Hornet fighters to Switzerland.

On September 30, the Pentagon’s top arms broker, announced that the State Department had made a decision to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Swiss Government of 40 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft at an estimated cost of $ 6.58 billion and 40 F / A- 18E / F Super Hornet at an estimated cost of $ 7.452 billion.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to enhance the security of a friendly European country that continues to be a vital force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” said the DSCA.


However, it is important to note that US government approval does not mean a country has agreed to purchase the weapon or other system in question.

The proposed sale will enhance Switzerland’s ability to meet current and future threats. Switzerland currently operates the Boeing F / A-18C / D, but the aircraft is reaching the end of its useful life and will be replaced by the winner of the Swiss New Fighter Aircraft competition, in which the F / A-18E / F and F-35 are being considered.

Based on Defense NewsSwiss voters have approved the government’s plan to spend $ 6.5 billion on new fighters by a margin of 8,670 votes.

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.


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