11/30/2011 – The news broke today : The Swiss Air Force is to acquire 22 Sweedish SAAB GRIPEN fighter aircraft. The Swiss government had warned that they were compelled to squeeze their budget for this $3.36 billion bid as they could not afford to purchase the 33 fighter aircraft planned for the replacement of their F-5 Tiger fleet.
In spite of its outstanding performance during the tests as well as over the battlefields in Afghanistan, and in Libya, the Dassault Rafale was not chosen. Moreover, like the EADS Eurofighter/Typhoon, it was deemed too expensive for Switzerland could not buy as many aircraft within the budget allocated.
The Gripen is a good option for Switzerland since it is the cheapest one. The version to be delivered – JAS 39E/F or Gripen Demo/NG – is believed to be an excellent one – IRST (InfraRed Search and Track); ES-05 Raven AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar & SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar); Electronic Warfare (EW) systems; Helmet Mounted Sight and Display (HMSD)…
However, this new-generation Gripen NG is a single engine fighter aircraft. It was tactically outperformed by its opponents, and last but not least, it has not yet been produced. As a matter of fact, the Swiss should be involved in the R&D works.
Every passenger departing the UK has to pay a fee. It varies depending where you are flying to, and where you are sitting on the plane. APD – Air Passenger Duty – is divided into four categories or bands based on the distance between London, and the final destination. Watch the video about this « banding system » hereafter:
As far as the Swiss Air Force is concerned, there has been two options so far – the choice of new fighter aircraft or postponement thereof, the second alternative has been chosen. You will find hereafter the Avianews webmaster’s analysis:
This is the Swiss Federal Council Message:
« However, given the current state of federal finances and priorities taken as a whole, the time of acquisition is postponed to no later than 2015. The Federal Council decided on the proposal of DDPS (Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports) to postpone the replacement of 54 obsolete combat aircraft F-5 Tiger Air Force. The Head of the DDPS, Ueli Maurer held a news conference on the postponement which is expected to last at most until 2015. The Federal Department of Finance and the DDPS together confirm by the end of 2011 the conditions for an acquisition during the second half of the decade. »
The reasons for non selection:
First, this is an organizational problem from the financial organization of Armée XXI. Remember, the people had voted for the new military organization with a comfortable 70% « yes »! id est a military downsized with a budget of only 4.3 billion Swiss Francs now. However, the parliament has never put forward this budget that painfully reaches 3.6 billion. The Swiss People is reportedly disappointed by such loss of income, and deception as well.
No F-5 replacement:
Replacing the F-5 is out of the question anymore but to get prepared for the next generation of F/A-18 from 2025. Consequently, there is more urgency to acquire a large number of aircraft as a whole block but split into several ones.
The losers in this case are the Swiss industry and jobs. Indeed, if the cost of a fighter plane is expensive, the returns on partnerships to « Offsets » were significantly higher and would have revitalized both the Swiss manufacturing industry and employment.
The three companies will meet in a few years for a new offer and therefore cannot comment on this « no choice »!
Dassault must be disappointed for they would certainly have won the contract with his Rafale. The version of the Rafale-04T was proposed with more powerful engines, the wiring for the METEOR missile, the new targeting pod Damocles XF and the brand new IDM (Improved Data Modem).
It bodes well for Saab because they now may complete the Swedish version of the Gripen E / F (NG), whose development is not completed yet and find a buyer with the Swedish Air Force (SwAF). Indeed, it must order the Gripen E / F by 2015.
EADS Eurofighter will be able to finalize its AESA E-scan radar and they are likely to reduce maintenance costs of the aircraft as promised this summer to the Switzerland Economy Minister Doris Leuthard at the ILA Berlin Airshow.
The French Prime minister François Fillon has addressed an official statement this morning:
After the reform, “The French Army will have shed 20 Regiments/Batallions”, The Air Force will have shed 11 Air Bases,and the Navy will have shed “a Fleet Air Arm Base”.
The units or sites concerned are small, medium, and large ones – from tens of people up to 2,502 people as far as Metz AF Base is concerned.
As early as 2009, the French government plans the closing down of the AF Base 101 stationed at Toulouse.
In2010 Colmar-Meyenheim (Haut-Rhin) AF Base 132 should close down (1,276 people).
From 2011 -2012, Nîmes Garons Fleet Air Arm Base (1,332 people) will close down, as will the AF Base 112 stationed at Reims (1,545 people), and Taverny Air Base (Val-d’Oise, 986 people) as well. The AF Base 128 (Metz-Frescaty, Moselle, 2.502 people), AF Base 103 of Cambrai-Haynecourt (Nord, 1,364 people), AF Base 217 at Bretigny-sur-Orge (Essonne, 1,955 people). Overseas AF Bases: 365 Lamentin (650 people) in Martinique in the French West Indies, and overseas AF Bases 190 Papeete – Faa’a (Tahiti), in Polynesia (920 people), and AFB 181 Sainte-Clothilde, La Réunion. The radar Air Force Base 943 Nice Mont-Agel is to be shed too.
While 83 military sites will close down, it is deemed that around 60 sites will be operationally-meant reinforced. Evreux (Eure) Air Force Base 105 is expected to get a reinforcement up to 800 people.
The French government plans 54,000 jobs to be axed in the Armed Forces and Defense within a seven-year period. The current France strength is 320,000 (without the Gendarmerie). The French Air Force should reach down to 50,000 strength.