Lockheed Martin Corp. will supply the Swiss Air Force with 36 F-35A aircraft in a deal worth an estimated $2.16 billion, making Switzerland the 15th nation to join the F-35 program. The Swiss Federal Council chose the F-35 over Boeing’s F/A-18 fighter jet and offerings by Dassault and Airbus, citing both procurement and operating costs.
The Swiss Parliament has yet to approve the Council’s decision.
Deliveries will begin in 2025, as Switzerland retires its current fleet of 30 Boeing F/A-18s.
"We are honored to be selected by Switzerland and look forward to partnering with the Swiss government, public, air force and industry to deliver and sustain the F-35 aircraft," said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program. "With the selection, Switzerland will become the 15th nation to join the F-35 program of record, joining several European nations in further strengthening global airpower and security."
The F-35 is a series of three different, single-engine aircraft with Stealth capability and designed for ground attack and combat. It's deployed by the U.S Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy, and the defense forces of multiple allied nations. Each aircraft is valued at $89.2 million to $115.5 million, depending on the model, and while Lockheed is the lead contractor there are hundreds of suppliers included in the program, the largest for the DoD.
To date, about 550 of the aircraft have been delivered to the USAF, USMC, and USN, and U.S. allies' defense forces.
The F-35A, of which the U.S. Air Force is the primary operator, is the “conventional takeoff and landing” variant, the smallest and lightest of the three models. Swiss Federal Council officials said the F-35A is well suited to air policing and credited its “high degree of survivability” due to the Stealth capability that makes it difficult for enemies to detect.
Lockheed noted that F-35 jets operate from 21 bases worldwide, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil.
In the European region, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and the U.K. are other members of the F-35 program.