Air2030: Head of DDPS and Chief of the Armed Forces receive US General for talks on procurement of the F-35A

Bern, 28.10.2021 - Federal Councillor Viola Amherd, Head of DDPS, met Lieutenant General Eric T. Fick, F-35 Program Executive Officer, during his visit in Bern on October 28, 2021. Lieutenant General Fick also met Lieutenant General Thomas Süssli, Chief of the Armed Forces, at the airforce base in Emmen. During his visit, he discussed the planned procurement of 36 F-35A combat aircraft with members of the program team Air2030.

The exchange between Federal Councillor Viola Amherd and US General Eric T. Fick, head of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (JPO), focused on the procurement of 36 F-35As for Switzerland. Lieutenant General Eric T. Fick emphasized that the United States stands by its F-35 offer to Switzerland, which takes into account US inflation and fixed pricing. He also assured Federal Councillor Amherd of maximum transparency, for example by allowing Switzerland insight into fixed-price contracts between the U.S. government and industry. Already, more than 700 aircraft have been delivered, which together have flown more than 440,000 flight hours.

Data security is assured

During the talks between Lieutenant General Süssli and Lieutenant General Eric T. Fick at the military airfield in Emmen, the focus was on the experiences of the U.S. forces with the F-35. Among the topics discussed were the design of future cooperation and cyber security. In this context, the U.S. general confirmed that Switzerland itself decides which data it exchanges with other air forces; moreover, cyber management, the security of the IT architecture and measures geared to cyber protection are comprehensively assured. The discussions between the U.S. general and the project representatives of the Air2030 program focused on the production or the introduction of the aircraft into the Swiss Air Force.

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office

Lieutenant General (Corps Commander) Eric T. Fick is the head of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (JPO), which is located in Arlington, Virginia. The JPO is the U.S. Department of Defense agency responsible for the development, delivery and sustainment of the F-35A/B/C. The F-35 is operated by the U.S. Armed Forces. In addition, 13 other nations, including 7 in Europe, currently operate or have ordered this aircraft. More than 3,000 F-35s are expected to be deployed worldwide in the future.

Strict supervision of compliance with contracts

The DDPS procures the aircraft from the US government via Foreign Military Sales (FMS) on the same terms as the U.S. government applies to itself. The arms deal is formally processed via a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA). The U.S. government, in turn, handles the procurement through its own contracts with U.S. industry. F-35 production contracts between the US government and US industry are fixed-price contracts, which are enforced by means of strict supervision.

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