On 19 September 2022, the head of the armament Martin Sondegger and the project manager Darko Savic signed the purchase contract with the US government at armasuisse in Bern. The supply of 36 F-35A fighter jets was thus contractually formalized after Parliament approved the pledge credit on 15 September. Aircraft will be delivered from 2027 to 2030 and will replace the current fleet of F/A-18 Hornet and F-5 Tiger.
The contract for the purchase of 36 F-35As amounts to 6.035 billion Swiss francs and therefore falls within the maximum funding volume approved by the Swiss electorate. The document was signed by the chief of armament, Martin Sonderegger, and the project leader responsible for the purchase of the new fighter plane, Darko Savic. For their part, the American authorities had already signed the purchase agreement last October.
In addition to the aircraft, the purchase costs of the F-35A also include equipment for specific uses, armament and ammunition, logistics packages, as well as planning and mission evaluating systems, education and initial training. Moreover, the costs for integration into Swiss conduct and information systems (e.g. adaptations to existing logistics systems), for industry support services, risks, inflation in the US and VAT on imports are also included.
Prices are binding
Switzerland buys aircraft from the US government under the “Foreign Military Sales” (FMS) program under the same conditions as for the latter. The US government, in turn, manages the purchase through its own specific contract, accessible to the DDPS, with manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The prices and conditions of this contract are binding and their compliance is strictly monitored.
In addition, Switzerland and the United States have negotiated a specific clause and signed a separate declaration confirming the contractually agreed fixed price.
Offset agreement concluded in parallel
Simultaneously with the purchase agreement, the head of the Air2030 program, Peter Winter, and the project leader responsible for the purchase of the new fighter plane, Darko Savic, signed the offset agreement with Lockheed Martin, thanks to which the US manufacturer can conclude deals with the Swiss industry that compensate for the purchase costs. As a result, Swiss companies receive orders with a volume of around CHF 2.9 billion.
Unofficial translation by EDR On-Line
Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin