Switzerland Launches Air2030 Fighter Jet Competition to Replace its Ageing Fleet of F-5, F/A-18 Aircraft

Switzerland launched a competition to replace its ageing fleet of F-5 Tiger II and F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets as part of its Air2030 programme, inviting five Western aircraft manufacturers to submit the bids.

The five manufacturers who received the invite are Airbus (Eurofighter Typhoon, Germany), Dassault (Rafale, France), Saab (Gripen E, Sweden), Boeing (F/A-18 Super Hornet, USA) and Lockheed-Martin (F-35A, USA). The manufacturers contacted by the government authorities can now submit an offer to the Federal Office for Defence Procurement (armasuisse) until the end of January 2019.

Swiss Defense Ministry said in a statement that the offers should contain, among other things, the following elements:

+ Calculation of how many aircraft are necessary to fulfill the tasks of the Swiss Air Force (including four aircraft permanently in the air for four weeks) from the manufacturer’s point of view.
+ Price for 40 and 30 aircraft including logistics and armament for the later determination of the required number of platforms.
+ Information and proposals for cooperation between the Armed Forces and the procurement authorities.
+ Information on possible offset transactions.

The weightage given to the selection criteria is as follows:

+ Effectiveness (operational effectiveness, deployment autonomy) 55%
+ Product support (maintainability, support autonomy) 25%
+ Cooperation 10%
+ Direct offsets 10%

The fighter planes will be tested by Swiss fighter pilots at the Payerne Air Base from May to July 2019.

The testing will be followed by a second RFQ by armasuisse in November 2019, which should be answered by the end of May 2020. The findings from the flight and ground trials as well as the knowledge and data gathered from the evaluation of the first offer flow into this second, updated request for an offer. The manufacturers are requested by the second offer request to submit the most advantageous offer for Switzerland.

From June 2020 to the end of the year, the evaluation report will be prepared and subsequently submitted to the Federal Council for the type selection.

The Swiss Armed Forces is also conducting a competition, named Project BODLUV 2020 (BODengestützte-Luft-Verteidigung 2020), to procure a new short-range and medium range ground-based air defense system to replace the Swiss Army’s ageing anti-aircraft defense systems, which mainly consists of FIM-92 Stinger MANPAD infrared guided missiles, Rapier (Mobile Lenkwaffen Flugabwehr) surface-to-air guided missile, and Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon (Flab Kanone 63/90) anti-aircraft guns.

The offer request for this competition is expected to be sent in late summer and will follow a similar timeline of Air2030 competition.

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