The F-35A Lightning II has 0fficially been selected to replace the Swiss Air Force’s ageing fleet of F-5 Tigers and F/A-18 Hornets over the next decade.
The Swiss Federal Council selected the Lockheed Martin-built aircraft following a competition that assessed the jet’s performance against three other contenders — Airbus’ Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault’s Rafale, and Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Lockheed has been tasked with delivering 36 aircraft, sustainment support and training services for an estimated US$6.5 billion.
According to the prime, Swiss industry would be provided with the opportunity to participate in research and development, production and sustainment services.
“We are honoured to be selected by Switzerland and look forward to partnering with the Swiss government, public, air force and industry to deliver and sustain the F-35 aircraft,” Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program, said.
“With the selection, Switzerland will become the 15th nation to join the F-35 program of record, joining several European nations in further strengthening global airpower and security.”
Switzerland is among a host of other nations to procure the jet, including Australia, the US, UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Denmark and Canada.
In addition to ordering the F-35 aircraft, Switzerland announced it would also procure five Patriot fire units from Raytheon for an estimated US$2.2 million.
This aims to build Switzerland’s ground-based air defence, with the Raytheon-built system beating out Eurosam’s SAMP/T platform.
The news comes after manufacturer Lockheed Martin confirmed it will ramp up production and delivery of F-35 aircraft in 2022 following supply-chain disruptions induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company is expected to deliver between 133 and 139 jets this year, increasing to 169 in 2022 and plateauing at 175 thereafter.
Lockheed Martin increased its outlook for 2021 sales and profit as it reported a better-than-expected quarterly performance.
The F-35 fighter jet producer increased the midpoint of its full-year revenue outlook slightly to US$68 billion, which is still below Wall Street’s average estimate of US$68.17 billion.