BERN --- On 25 January 2019, five candidates submitted to armasuisse their offers for the next fighter jets, as required by the procedure published on March 23, 2018 by the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport. The bids are for the following aircraft: Eurofighter (Airbus, Germany), F / A-18 Super Hornet (Boeing, USA), Rafale (Dassault, France), F-35A (Lockheed-Martin, USA) and Gripen E (Saab, Sweden).
Kick-off of the analysis and testing phase
The submission of these initial offers marks the beginning of the analysis and testing phase. From February to March 2019, specialists from armasuisse and the Swiss Air Force will test the aircraft in the corresponding simulators. These activities will take place at the candidates’ facilities, and will run in parallel to the product support audits.
During these audits, the air forces of the manufacturing countries will present the operation and maintenance procedures for each aircraft and their training course.
The audits will be followed by the analysis of the answers to the questionnaire that the manufacturers had to fill in their initial offers. At the same time, between April and July 2019, combat aircraft will be subjected to flight and ground tests at Payerne.
Interested persons can visit the airplanes in Payerne: visiting days for the media and aircraft spotters will be provided upon registration for each aircraft model. All information concerning visiting days will be available at the beginning of April 2019 on the DDPS website.
Next steps of the project Next combat aircraft
Armasuisse, in cooperation with the Defence Staff, the Air Force, the Defence Logistics Base and the Command Support Base, will produce expert reports on the information gathered during the analysis and testing of each candidate aircraft. These reports will form the basis of the systematic and comprehensive comparison between the candidates, which will be carried out during the second half of 2020. They will also serve to determine the size of the required fleet for each model of aircraft.
On this basis, the current timetable calls for armasuisse to prepare a second request for proposals tenders that will be sent to the five candidates. Based on the knowledge gained from the second offer, armasuisse will then compare the candidates with each other on the basis of the expert reports, and determine the overall usefulness of each candidate.
The evaluation report comparing overall utility with acquisition costs and operating costs for a period of 30 years will then be developed.
The Federal Council will then select the preferred model.