Friday, July 2, 2021

Switzerland: Selects F35 over French and Eurofighter. Europe isn't happy

(Bern) Switzerland has been in the market for a new fighter for a few years to replace its current fleet of F18 hornets which it purchased during the 1990s and its F5 freedom fighters of 1960s stock 4 aircraft were in the running :

France: Dassault’s Rafale which has of late been very successful across Europe with sales to Greece and Croatia
EU: Airbus Eurofighter (with the offer of all planes to built in Switzerland) 
US: Boeing F18 SuperHornet (A more advanced version of the F18 already in service with Switzerland)
US: Lockheed Martin F35 (The only 5th gen aircraft on offer)

Well the Swiss have made their minds up and have selected the F35 and that hasn't gone down well across Europe. France which was hoping to win, even had Macron, telephone the Swiss President. The french speaking population of Switzerland have expressed their displeasure Le temps which also caters to the French Swiss population wrote:
“The decision is a “strategic error” on the part of the defence minister, the purchase of a new fighter jet has to take into account all aspects, including the geostrategic question. On this front, the European models – the French Rafale and the English-Italian-Spanish-German Eurofighter – were clearly the priority. There are even plans to launch a people’s initiative to challenge the decision.”

La Liberté which also caters to the same demographic wrote:

The choice sends a “disastrous signal” to Europe. “Not so much in the sense of trying to heal the tensions after the end of the framework agreement, but rather in terms of investing and projecting in a common future,“A security strategy is crafted together with one’s neighbours; it’s with them that one builds one’s future”.

 SonntagsBlick which caters to the German Swiss population published:

A letter from four European defence ministers addressed to Swiss Defence Minister Viola Amherd. According to the paper’s sources,  which talked about cross-border partnerships in various areas including cyber security and infrastructure.

 Airbus even made an appeal to the Swiss government to choose a European firm

Bernhard Brenner, Sales Director at Airbus Defence and Space stating that the decision shouldn’t solely be based on military criteria. "The economic and political elements are just as important."

Well now that the Swiss have picked the F35, there is talk that this decision will effect Swiss and EU relations , seeing how days before the Swiss picked the Patriot missile system over the French/Italian  SAMP/T