Dassault Rafale seems to be on top in Switzerland

However, French fighter could be ousted by F-35.

Switzerland selects Dassault Rafale
Dassault Rafale multirole fighter.

After being selected by Greece, Croatia, India, Egypt and Indonesia, the golden year of the Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft could continue with victory in Switzerland.

While the decision on the next Swiss Air Force fighter jet will be made in a few weeks, local media report that the French-made fighter is on top of the "Air2030" tender.

Switzerland is about to sign a deal worth around 6 billion Swiss francs (around 7 billion dollars) to procure 30 to 40 aircraft to be delivered by 2025. The order aims to replace the old McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C/D Hornets and the few Northrop F-5E/F Tiger IIs for air police duties.

Although all four contenders have all the credentials to win the order, local media say the Rafale is the favorite over the Lockheed Martin F-35, Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon.

According to local media Le Matin, some Swiss politicians are strongly opposed to buying American systems. They threaten to launch another "popular initiative" (the Swiss referendum system) which would further delay the acquisition of the aircraft to the detriment of the Swiss Air Force.

Le Matin also says the Federal Office of Armaments (Amasuisse) recently acquired the SkyView aerial surveillance system from French manufacturer Thales. "Even if it were not mandatory, there would be coherence between a surveillance system of French origin and French planes," writes the newspaper.

Although the assumptions of the Swiss media are all plausible, a source close to the Swiss defense told us that there is a good chance that the F-35 will win the contract. Lockheed Martin's stealth aircraft appears to have received the best scores in the evaluation tests and have the best price compared to the other contenders. However, we can't take that for sure yet as internal opposition could influence the deal.

The choice of the new fighter by the Swiss Federal Council should be made by the end of June and could mark a further success for the Rafale, but we do not exclude it may be ousted by the F-35.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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