The DDPS on January 7, 2008 invited four airframe manufacturers -- Boeing, Dassault, EADS and Gripen International -- to present their initial offers by the middle of this year for a partial replacement of the F-5E Tiger fighters. The in-flight evaluations will probably take place during the second half of this year.
Parliament approved during the winter session of 2007 funding of 8 million Swiss francs for the evaluation of a fighter intended to replace Tiger (partial replacement of Tiger, TTE). The F-5 "Tiger" fighters now in service will reach the end of their operational life-times in the coming years. These fighters, designed in the 1960s and 1970s, are based on obsolete technologies and no longer meet the requirements of the aerial policing mission.
The capacity to supervise the airspace, to control it and to defend it is of paramount importance for the assertion of the sovereignty of a State, particularly of a neutral State, which must guarantee it by its own means.
Without the replacement of the F-5 Tiger, the capacity to maintain and safeguard sovereignty of the airspace, to ensure the service of air police force and air defense would be massively reduced. With only 33 F/A-18, a permanent presence (24 hours a day) of 4 aircraft in flight could be assured only during approximately two weeks.
On January 7, 2008, four companies (Boeing, Dassault, EADS, Gripen International) were invited to submit their first offers by the middle of 2008. The in-flight evaluations will take place in Switzerland, probably during the second half of 2008. According to the results of these evaluations, and taking into account various other factors, the DDPS will propose to the federal Council the acquisition of one type of aircraft and a budget envelope. It is envisaged to ask Parliament to authorize acquisition of the new fighters to partially replace the Tigers as part of Armaments Program 2010.
The costs of acquiring the Tiger replacement aircraft as well as the PC-21 training aircraft required to train their pilots, are estimated at approximately 2.2 billion francs, which can be funded through the ordinary budget of the DDPS for 2010.
The evaluation of the aircraft will determine, within this financial ceiling, which is the best system overall, and which operational capabilities, and for how long, can be attained with such an investment.