NEWS | Switzerland Could Buy 70 New Combat Jets - Task Force
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NEWS | Switzerland Could Buy 70 New Combat Jets - Task Force

Image Attribute: Swiss Air Force F-18 03 by Rikkubeauty /

Image Attribute: Swiss Air Force F-18 03 by Rikkubeauty /

ZURICH - According to Switzerland's defence ministry task force report, 20 scenarios has been laid out on Tuesday (May 30, 2017) to go to the market and procure as many as 70 new fighter jets for replacing the land-locked country's aging aerial combat fleet.

The report states that the most feasible option would be to buy 55-70 aircraft and ground-based air defence weapons for an estimated 15 billion to 18 billion Swiss francs ($15.3-$18.4 billion).

However, it did not mention which fighter aircraft the government should consider as of now. But, the least expensive option would be procuring 20 jets and accompanying ground-based air defence systems for 5 billion francs. Other options called for buying 40 or 30 new aircraft plus surface-to-air defence support.

Currently, Switzerland is looking to replace its fleet of Boeing McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C and D Hornets and cold-war era Northrop F-5 Tigers, all of which are scheduled to be retired in the 2020s. The cheapest option would mean to continue the F/A-18s in service longer than planned, the panel said.

Task force also suggested the government should decide by 2020 what kind of jets to buy and to finance the deal through the regular defence budget.

That would help avoid the risk of having to subject the purchase to a popular referendum under the Swiss system of direct democracy. Voters in 2014 shot down plans to buy 22 Gripen E fighters made by Swedish company Saab AB. ($1 = 0.9802 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Reuters