The purchase of combat aircraft by Switzerland is entering its concrete phase after the very tight yes of the people at the end of September. The four competing manufacturers made their offers to Armasuisse on Wednesday. Lobbying continues behind the scenes and with the public.
The four aircraft manufacturers vying for the 36 to 40 Swiss fighter jets for United States with Boeing, for the Super Hornet, and Lockheed Martin, for the F-35A.are: France with Dassault, for the Rafale, the European Union with Airbus, for the Eurofighter, the
The four planes competing to replace the FA-18s of the Swiss army: the F / A-18 Super Hornet, the Rafale, the Eurofighter and the F-35 (from left to right and top to bottom). [Gaëtan Bally/Peter Klaunzer/Jean-Christophe Bott – Keystone]Airbus and Lockheed Martin held press conferences on Thursday. An approach that may surprise, since the population will not comment on the choice of the plane.
The word that comes up with these two groups to justify the approach is “transparency”: they deny being in the countryside, saying they just want to make sure that the Swiss have a precise idea of what is being offered to them, since it is their money … six billion highly courted.
Councilor for States Olivier Français (PLR / VD) is a member of the security committee. He looks at these initiatives with a very critical eye: “On the marketing side, it’s a good move; on the political side, I think they are making a serious mistake for us – citizens and parliamentarians – because the decision is first of all a technical decision. And, at the end, there will be a political criterion. It will be necessary to look at this with serenity. We will not be able to make influence peddling by well-done communication: it does not correspond to our values and, above all, to the method of doing things, as defined by the Federal Council, accepted by the Federal Chambers and, ultimately, accepted by the people, “he explains at the microphone of Forum.
Airbus and its European ambassadors
Airbus opened fires with great fanfare with a press conference broadcast from the German Embassy in Bern.
Surrounding the general manager for the Swiss market, no less than four ambassadors: Italian, Spanish, German and British. A strong political signal, each sporting a Eurofighter plane pin.
They hammered home a common message: we are a united family, we represent our governments, we want to consolidate and develop our partnerships with Switzerland. A seductive operation which sees Airbus betting on the security advantages of a partnership with neighboring countries and also on the possibilities of training, economic and industrial development.
They also put a lot of emphasis on other less obvious aspects, in particular what already links Switzerland with these different countries, such as academic, scientific and energetic exchanges, or even cultural proximity.
For example, the Italian ambassador spoke in his language, recalling that it was a national language in Switzerland. He then made a reference to the importance of the Ticinese architect Borromini for the city of Rome.
However, the details of the offer submitted to Armasuisse were not very much discussed, as they are confidential, in particular the price. But Airbus assures that its proposal is within the budget.
Lockheed Martin facts
The American manufacturer Lockheed Martin has opted for another strategy, remaining fairly factual on the technical characteristics of its jet, insisting that its offer is unique and that it respects the budget set as well as Swiss sovereignty.
As from the beginning of the process – and in this honoring the Swiss will – the American Boeing and the French Dassault are, them, more discreet.
has about four months now to assess the offers – which also include proposals for cooperation and compensatory matters – and report back to the Federal Council. The latter should make a decision before the summer, in June 2021.
The acquisition project should be submitted to Parliament in 2022. As for the renewal of the fleet, it is planned for 2030.
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Radio subject: Marie Giovanola
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