Switzerland plans to send its old warplanes back to the United States

(Bloomberg) – The U.S. is expected to buy 22 aging combat aircraft from Switzerland, a country that is struggling to modernize its own air force.

U.S. Navy officials and the Swiss defense agency, known as Armasuisse, discussed the deal in July, an agency spokesman said on Sunday via email. The contract will be signed as soon as US lawmakers approve the defense budget for 2020, he said.

President Donald Trump is targeting Pentagon funding of $ 718 billion in 2020, including $ 39.7 million for the F-5, an aircraft that first shipped to Switzerland in 1978. Nowadays, the US simulates enemy aircraft in air combat training with the F-5.

Switzerland has been trying to buy new combat aircraft for years. In 2014, voters rejected an order worth CHF 3.1 billion (US $ 3.2 billion) for Saab AB Gripen's fighter jets. According to the SonntagsZeitung and previous Swiss media reports, Switzerland is now planning to spend around CHF 6 billion on new fighter jets.

"If the Americans want to take over the scrap, they should do it," the green-liberal legislator Beat Flach told the SonntagsZeitung, which reported on the planned sale on Sunday. "It's better than letting the tigers rot in a parking lot."

Contact the reporter about this story: Albertina Torsoli in Geneva at atorsoli@bloomberg.net

Contact the editors responsible for this story: Beth Mellor at bmellor@bloomberg.net, Tony Czuczka, James Amott

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© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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