The Swiss Federal Council announced on Wednesday that it has selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II to replace its aging F-5 Tiger and F/A-18 Hornet fleets. Other aircraft models considered for the role were the Airbus Eurofighter, Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale. According to the Council, the F-35 was the least expensive option as well as scoring the highest overall in its evaluation.
“We are honored 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,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “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.”
The procurement budget for the program, which will cover 36 F-35A aircraft, is capped at 6 billion Swiss francs (about $6.5 billion). The U.S. approved the potential sale of both the F/A-18 and F-35 to Switzerland last year. Lockheed Martin reports that there are currently more than 655 F-35s in service with over 1,380 pilots and 10,670 maintainers trained on the aircraft.