Air2030: Saab does not participate in flight and ground tests for new Swiss fighter aircraft

Bern, 13.06.2019 - Swedish manufacturer Saab informed armasuisse today that the company will not participate in the upcoming flight and ground tests for a new fighter aircraft in Payerne. Airbus (GER), Boeing (USA), Dassault (FRA) and Lockheed Martin (USA) are thus the four candidates that remain in the evaluation process.

The Swedish manufacturer Saab informed armasuisse on Thursday, 13 June 2019, that Saab's Gripen E fighter aircraft will not participate in the flight and ground tests for a new fighter aircraft for the Swiss Armed Forces in Payerne. The tests of the Gripen E were scheduled for 24-28 June 2019. By not participating in the tests, the Gripen E will no longer be considered in the evaluation process. Conducting the flight and ground tests at a later date is not an option as this would prejudice the equal treatment of all candidates.
In its periodic communications with all contenders since the beginning of last year, armasuisse has explained the process and the criteria expected to be met. Based on recent information and analyses on both the maturity and the integration of the subsystems, experts from armasuisse and the Swiss Air Force concluded that several of the planned missions could not be carried out meaningfully. Hence armasuisse recommended to Saab to withdraw from the evaluation. Saab obviously arrived of its own accord at the conclusion not to participate in the flight and ground tests.

The following four candidates remain in the evaluation:
• Airbus with the Eurofighter (GER)
• Boeing with the F/A-18 Super Hornet (USA)
• Dassault with the Rafale (FRA)
• Lockheed Martin with the F-35A (USA)

The way ahead in the new fighter aircraft project

Armasuisse will cooperate with the Armed Forces Staff, the Air Force, the Armed Forces Logistics Organisation and the Command Support Organisation to summarise the findings from the analysis and testing phase in separate technical reports for each candidate. These technical reports will form the basis for a systematic and comprehensive comparison between the candidates, which will be carried out in the second half of 2020. They will also serve to determine the required fleet size for each aircraft type.

On this basis and in accordance with the current schedule armasuisse will prepare and submit to the candidates a second request for proposals. Taking into account the second offers, armasuisse will then compare the candidates  based on the technical reports and determine each candidate's overall utility. The evaluation report comparing the overall utility of each candidate with the costs of procurement and 30 years of operaton will then be drawn up. The decision on the type will be taken by the Federal Council.

Address for enquiries

Mr Kaj-Gunnar Sievert
Head of Communication armasuisse
+41 58 464 62 47


Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports DDPS