Switzerland has requested CHF10 million to support replacement of its fighter aircraft and keep some of its current combat inventory active for longer than previously intended, the country said.
Swiss voters rejected a proposed acquisition of 22 Saab Gripens in 2014, but in February 2016, Bern indicated that it would initiate a second attempt to purchase new fighters.
As part of that effort, defense minister Guy Parmelin formed a panel of experts to examine the requirements of Switzerland´s armed forces and the future of its air force´s Boeing F/A-18C/D and Northrop F-5 fleets.
A preliminary report produced by that group suggests that CHF10 million (USD9.88 million) is needed to support the design, testing and procurement preparations for a new fighter, plus as much as CHF490 million to extend the lives of the F/A-18s.
Switzerland says that if the required funding is allocated in its 2017 budget, the procurement effort would begin in 2018, leading to a selection in 2020, with first delivery in 2025.
Switzerland operates 30 F/A-18C/Ds and 53 F-5s, with plans to reduce the latter fleet to 26 aircraft.