UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Tiger Partial Replacement (TTE) Tiger Teil-Ersatz

The Swiss defense department's search for a new fighter drew ire from the public, prompting officials to look for a cheaper, more acceptable alternative. By the end of 2019, Switzerland was negotiating with Washington to sell it back 22 of its F-5 fighter jets, acquired from the US in 1978. The US planned to spend about $39 million on the aged fleet - the US military uses these jets, first introduced in 1962, in training sessions to simulate enemy forces. However, these funds are yet to be secured under the 2020 US Defence spending bill. Once it's signed by the president, the deal with Switzerland was expected to be finalised. "If the Americans want to take over the scrap iron, they should do it. "It's better than having the [F-5] Tigers rot in a parking lot", Green Liberal lawmaker, Beat Flach, commented on the matter in an interview with the local Sonntags Zeitung.

Planning activities for the partial replacement of the 30 year old F-5-Tiger fleet began in 2007 [called partial as two squadrons of 58 F-5s would be replaced by one squadron of new aircraft]. Only aircraft could be considered which were already introduced in the air force of the manufacturing country. In January 2008 the Federal Office for Defence Procurement (armasuisse) submitted a request for proposal to the aircraft manufacturers Boeing, Dassault, EADS and Saab. On 30 April 2008 Boeing decided not to submit an offer. So the remaining candidates for the Partial Tiger Replacement were the „Gripen“ manufactured by Saab in Sweden, the French „Rafale“ from Dassault, and the „Eurofighter“ manufactured by the European consortium EADS.

Submitting the popular initiative “No new combat aircraft”, which demanded a moratorium on the purchase of any combat aircraft until 31 December 2019, the Group for Switzerland without Armed Forces GSoA wanted to prevent the Confederation from procuring new combat aircraft to replace the obsolete Northrop F-5 Tiger II (Tiger-Teilersatz TTE) aircraft. The collection of signatures began on 10 June 2008 and ended in May 2009, and the initiative was submitted to the Federal Chancellery on 8 June 2009 with 107,828 authenticated signatures.

In autumn 2008, the air force held a series of extensive tests in order to appraise in quick succession the Swedish-built Gripen, the French-built Rafale and the consortium-built Eurofighter. In July 2009 the Swiss aviation magazine Cockpit quoted unnamed defense department sources as saying that the Swiss air force was also giving consideration to the option of buying used F/A-18 Hornets from Kuwait, in lieu of new fighters.

On 15 January 2009 armasuisse had delivered an updated request for proposal for the Par- tial Tiger Replacement (TTE) to the manufacturers. It is divided into 26 modules. With the second offer the manufacturers submit their offers for 24 modules. In the updated request for proposal the manufacturers are asked to submit an offer for 22 aircraft. In addition, armasuisse set the budget at CHF 2.2 billion and inquired how many aircraft can be delivered for this amount.

In the spring of 2009, the information group PRO-Kampfflugzeuge (German for pro-combat aircraft) launched an informative website, which provided convincing manufacturer and aircraft type independent arguments for a quick partial replacement of the obsolete Tiger combat aircraft, in German called Tiger Teilersatz TTE (Tiger-Teilersatz TTE).

On 17 April 2009 the three manufacturers EADS, Saab and Dassault handed over their second offer for the partial F-5 Tiger replacement to armasuisse in due time. The selection of the aircraft type which will succeed the F-5 Tiger was scheduled for the beginning of 2010.

At the meeting on 25 August 2010, the Federal Council confirmed its basic approval of the partial replacement of the 54 obsolete Tiger F-5 fighter jets. Based on the financial situation of the Confederation and the general priorities at the time, however, the procurement was postponed to 2015 at the latest. As the head of the Department of defence, civil protection and sports, Federal Council Ueli Maurer, explained at a media conference, this decision applied until no later than 2015. By the end of 2011, the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) and the VBS jointly create the conditions for a procurement in the second half of the Decade.

On 15 November 2010, the press was informed that the referendum had been withdrawn as the GSoA considered their initiative to have successfully put pressure on the project and caused the Federal Council to put the partial replacement of the aged Tiger fleet on the back burner. Thus, they considered the objective achieved.

On 9 March 2011, after it had approved the motion by its Security Commission, which demanded the prompt acquisition of combat aircraft, the National Council urged the Federal Council to promptly procure combat aircraft.

Switzerland decided 30 November 2011 to buy 22 Gripen fighter jet manufactured by Sweden’s Saab group to replace the Air Force’s fleet of 54 US-made F5 Tigers. The decision, based on the recommendation of Defence Minister Ueli Maurer, drew fire. One of the main criticisms is that the jet, which is still a prototype, might not get enough takers to ensure that it and its parts are actually available when needed.

Although the House of Representatives had given its green light, the Senate blocked it. It was only in September 2013 that both parliamentary chambers finally gave their approval. The National Council approved the bill by 119 votes to 71 with 4 abstentions, and the Council of States by 25 votes to 17 with no abstentions.

In the 1990s pacifists and the political left tried - and failed - to block the purchase of new fighter jets for the Swiss Air Force. Twenty years on they have taken aim again, challenging a parliamentary decision to buy 22 Swedish Gripen aircraft.

On 18 May 2014 voters had their say on defence ministry plans to spend CHF3.1 billion ($3.5 billion) over the next decade to acquire JAS-39 lightweight fighter aircraft from aerospace manufacturer Saab. A survey by the gfs.bern polling institute showed that 52 percent of voters opposed the plan, while 42 percent were in favor. With just six percent of voters still to make up their minds, a turnaround by supporters of the fighter purchase appeared unlikely. Voters rejected the defence ministry’s $3.5 billion order for 22 new Gripen fighter jets from Swedish defence company Saab AB. Final results show 53.4% of voters came out against the acquisition of 22 JAS-39 Gripen. The purchase was rejected on the grounds that buying and maintaining the 22 new Gripen planes would have added up to CHF10 billion, money that could be better spent on social security and education.

By April 2017 Switzerland was set to relaunch its efforts to procure a new fighter type following the announcement by the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) that it was prematurely retiring a third of the ageing Northrop F-5E Tiger II fleet due to cracking. Speaking 20 April 2015, Defence Minister Ueli Maurer said that the cracking in 16 of the country's 32 serviceable F-5Es (10 of which will be retired and 6 repaired and returned to service) coupled with the relatively small number of Boeing F/A-18 Hornets in service had left the air force in a 'critical' position. Once the retirements and repairs were complete, the country would be left with 22 F-5E and 32 F/A-18C/D frontline fighters.

The new program will cover the replaceming both the Northrop F-5 Tiger and the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. Selection could be made in 2020, with deliveries planned for 2025.

In November 2017, the Federal Council said it wanted to spend CHF8 billion ($8.4 billion) on new fighter jets and missile defences for the Swiss army. It tasked the defence ministry with looking at potential aircraft and has asked it to begin talks with Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, Lockheed Martin and Saab.

Swiss voters will have a say on whether to buy new fighter jets – but not on the type of jet. The Federal Council said on 09 March 2018 the issue would be put to the nation given the large amount of money involved and that it was an essential part of national security. It added that the two previous projects to buy new jets – F/A-18s in 1993 and Gripen fighters in 2014 – had also been subject to a nationwide vote. The 22-plane Gripen contract was rejected by 53.4% of voters.

A vote was expected to be held by 2020 at the latest. The government said the type of plane will be decided after the vote. The pacifist Switzerland Without an Army group criticised the government’s strategy as “undemocratic”, saying voters would know neither the cost nor number of planes – or indeed what the planes could even do. The group said it would start collecting signatures for a referendum against the purchase.

Switzerland has started off the competition to replace its ageing fleet of fighter jets, by inviting five European and United States companies to submit their bids. The defence ministry has sent the first offer for tender out, a statement said 06 July 2018. The new jets under consideration are: the Swedish Gripen E (Saab), the French Rafale (Dassault), German Eurofighter (Airbus), and from the American side, the successor to the FA-18, the Boeing Super Hornet and the F-35A from Lockheed-Martin. Under its Air2030 programm, Switzerland is aiming to procure new combat aircraft and ground-based defenses in a program valued at CHF8 billion ($8.1 billion). It is the biggest arms procurement program in modern Swiss history. Neutral Switzerland also uses fighter jets to police the skies during events like the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The new fleet would replace the current Northrop F-5 Tigers and F/A-18s which are scheduled to be retired in the 2020s. Armasuisse, the Federal Office for Defence Procurement, said it was asking the firms to submit pricing for 30 or 40 planes, including logistics and guided missiles, as well as an assessment of the number of aircraft necessary to fulfil the Swiss Air Force's needs. The manufacturers had until January 2019 to submit an offer, after which the planes will undergo tests and a second tender round will be opened, with the plan to finish the assessment by the end of 2020.

From May to July 2019, the fighter aircraft will be piloted one at a time in Payerne, followed by a second RFQ by armasuisse in November 2019, which will be answered by the end of May 2020. The findings from the flight and ground trials as well as the findings and data gathered from the evaluation of the first offer flow into this second, updated request for an offer. The manufacturers are requested by the second offer request to submit the most advantageous offer for Switzerland. From June to the end of 2020, the evaluation report will be compiled and then submitted to the Federal Council together with that of the system for ground-based air defense.

In March 2018 the government said that Swiss voters would have a say on whether to buy new fighter jets – but not on the type of jet. It added that the two previous projects to buy new jets – F/A-18s in 1993 and Gripen fighters in 2014 – had also been subject to a nationwide vote. The 22-plane Gripen contract was rejected by 53.4% of voters. The pacifist Switzerland Without an Army group in March 2018 criticised the government’s strategy and said it would start collecting signatures for a referendum against the purchase.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:03:46 ZULU