Swiss voters has approved a CHF6 billion ($6.49 billion) ceiling funding package for the procurement of new fighter jets for the Swiss Air Force.
In a surprisingly close referendum, just 50.1% of the roughly three million voters who cast ballots approved the purchase. The margin between the sides were fewer than 9,000 votes.
The contenders of the Air 2030 fighter replacement program are Eurofighter Typhoon (Airbus, Germany), Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (USA), Dassault Rafale (France) and Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II (USA). F-35A is a stealth fifth generation jet fighter while the remaining are 4++ generation fighter jets.
Defence Minister Viola Amherd said the government would now proceed with the evaluation of the four contenders with the contract expected to be finalized by 2021.
The new jets will replace Swiss Air Force’s aging F/A-18C/D Hornet and the F-5E/F Tiger II fighter aircraft fleet by 2030.