BERN --- Due to the difficult global situation linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, the second series of tenders for the combat aircraft and long-range surface-to-air defense systems is extended to November 2020.
By setting this new deadline, the DDPS reacts to the fact that manufacturers are also affected by measures aimed in particular at limiting travel or encouraging telework, and that conducting interviews in person is not possible. This new schedule has no impact on the rest of the acquisition process.
In January 2020, armasuisse issued the second request for tenders for the combat aircraft and long-range surface-to-air defense systems (DSA) to the government departments of the countries in which the companies of the potential manufacturers are established. For aircraft, these are Germany (Airbus Eurofighter), the United States (Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed-Martin F-35A) and France (Dassault Rafale); for the air-defense systems, the United States (Raytheon Patriot) and France (Eurosam SAMP/T). Initially, applicants had until August 2020 to submit their offers.
Confidentiality and travel restrictions
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the world to take action, and the bidders are no exception. A certain number of employees are absent and confidentiality requirements prohibit them from fully processing the offers by telework. In addition, there are travel restrictions which prevent representatives of candidates, Swiss industry and the DDPS from meeting in person.
However, such interviews are necessary, in particular to concretize the requirements relating to compensatory cases. They cannot always be replaced by teleconferences due to the degree of classification of the subjects covered.
The DDPS therefore decided to grant manufacturers an additional three months. They will therefore be able to submit by November 2020 the second offer, which will allow them to meet the required quality criteria.
This new schedule has no impact on the rest of the acquisition process. The information from the second offers and the results of the various tests will identify the strengths of each system.
These results as well as a detailed risk analysis will be included in the appraisal report in which the overall benefits of each aircraft and each long-range air-defense system will be compared to the cost of acquisition and use over 30 years.