With the Swiss parliament having effectively pushed back a decision on the country’s F-5 fighter replacement program until next year, the government is using the extra time to extract better terms from the three remaining bidders: Dassault, Saab, and Eurofighter.
The three contenders have until the end of May to improve their proposal to involve Swiss industry in the program. It’s not necessarily that the bidders fell short in what they put forward; instead, Bern is upping its requirement.
May 29 is also the due date for the bidders to present their plans for strategic cooperation, which wasn’t included in the initial call.
In response, Swedish officials have already making noises that a Gripen purchase could lead to Pilatus selling trainer aircraft in Sweden.
Meanwhile, the Swiss government says it is still analyzing noise data from the three competitors, all of whom completed flight trials in Switzerland.
The type selection for the F-5 replacement pitting the Gripen, Rafale and Typhoon against each other is now slated for 2010. First, though, parliament in December is expected to vote on a strategic white paper. It will provide the foundation for the F-5 replacement program and could include the size of the procurement – nominally around 22 aircraft.
[photo: Swiss air force]