Swiss military procurement agency armasuisse announced Monday that it had signed a contract for the purchase of 36 F-35As, with National Armaments Director Martin Sonderegger and Swiss F-35A Program Manager Darko Savic signing the contract at armasuisse headquarters in Bern earlier that day.
According to armasuisse, the contract worth 6.035 billion Swiss Francs ($6.2 billion) is a fixed price contract, with the Swiss government having negotiated a separate clause with the United States on a fixed price for the Foreign Military Sale program. In addition to the 36 F-35As, the contract also covers the costs of mission specific equipment; weapons and ammunition; a logistics package; mission planning systems; training systems and initial training; and costs of integrating the F-35 into the Swiss command and control system alongside costs of industry support services. Additionally, the contract also includes allowances for risk, inflation in the United States, as well as for value added tax on imports.
Alongside the signing of the purchase contract, Savic also signed a contract with Air2030 program head Peter Winter on offset agreements with Lockheed Martin. armasuisse estimates that around 2.9 billion Swiss Francs in contracts will be signed as part of offset work with Swiss industry.
In a statement, Lockheed said it was “honored” that Switzerland was now officially part of the F-35 program, stressing that the company was dedicated to “autonomy and sovereignty in integrating indigenous solutions”. “We look forward to growing the partnership with the Swiss Air Force and industry to deliver and sustain the aircraft for decades to come.”
The contract signings came shortly after the Swiss parliament voted to approve the purchase on 16 September. In a briefing to Swiss lawmakers during the debate prior to the vote, Defense Minister Viola Amherd said that the American government had already signed the contract, noting that the agreement struck ensured that the costs would not change despite inflation.
Under current plans for the Swiss Air2030 program, F-35 deliveries will start in 2027 and complete by the end of 2030, replacing the Swiss Air Force’s current F/A-18 Hornets and F-5 Tiger IIs. Switzerland’s Federal Council selected the F-35A in June 2021 following evaluations against Boeing’s Super Hornet, Dassault’s Rafale and Airbus’ Eurofighter, saying at the time that the F-35 offered the highest performance at the lowest cost.
Swiss parliamentary approval also marked a second defeat for opponents of the F-35 procurement, who sought a popular initiative on the F-35 purchase following their loss in a September 2020 national referendum that narrowly approved the purchase of a new fighter aircraft. The Swiss government had refused to give the popular initiative the approval needed to put it to a national vote, claiming that the time needed to set up a national vote risked allowing the deal to expire, and with it the promised F-35 production slots at a time of increased global demand for the aircraft.