Switzerland kicked off the fly competition for the five types of combat aircraft under consideration (Eurofighter Typhoon, the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale, the Lockheed Martin F-35A and the Saab Gripen E) to replace its ageing fleet of F-5 fighter jets, and older model F/A-18 fighters at Payerne Air Base, Bern.
Under its Air2030 program in fact, the country is seeking to procure new combat aircraft and ground-based air defenses in a program valued at up to 8 billion Swiss francs ($8.08 billion).
Switzerland had initially chosen the Saab Gripen E fighter but had to cancel that order after a 2014 referendum rejected the choice.
Noteworthy the Swiss procurement agency asked the firms to submit pricing for 30 or 40 planes, including logistics and air-to-air missiles, as well as an assessment of the number of aircraft necessary to fulfil the Swiss Air Force’s needs.
On Apr. 12, 2019 the staff of The Aviation Geek Club had the chance to attend the demonstration of the first contender, the Eurofighter Typhoon. A German-British Airbus team brought to Payerne a single-seater and a twin-seater variant of the aircraft in the markings of the Royal Air Force (RAF). As a spokesman for the company told to The Aviation Geek Club, the jets were British because the RAF has Tranche 3 Typhoons, the newest configuration of the European multi-role fighter aircraft.
According to Airbus, the Eurofighter Typhoon is the world’s most modern swing-role fighter. Once conceived as a multi-national program to modernize the European Air Forces, the Eurofighter Typhoon has in the meantime been sold to 5 additional customers (Austria, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait and Qatar) and thus doubled the number of its original user nations. It is powered by two EJ200 engines that give the Eurofighter Typhoon its impressive thrust-to-weight ratio and maneuverability. The core of this state of the art weapon system is its Identification capability and sensor fusion, based on the CAPTOR-E AESA radar and the PIRATE FLIR sensor while being protected by the PRAETORIAN Electronic Defensive Aid Sub System (DASS).
The next aircraft to be evaluated will be the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet, with the aircraft due to arrive by the end of April.
Photo credit: Gabriele Barison
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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