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Swiss Gripen buy voted down in referendum

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 19, 2014
Plans by Switzerland to buy 22 Gripen E/F fighters have been halted after the proposal was voted down in a referendum. (Saab)
Plans by Switzerland to buy 22 Gripen E/F fighters have been halted after the proposal was voted down in a referendum. (Saab)

Switzerland’s plan to buy 22 SAAB Gripen fighters has been voted down in a public referendum.

Held on May 18, 53.4 per cent of respondents voted to reject the proposed Gripen Fund Law, effectively bringing to a halt Swiss plans to replace its F-5E/F fleet with the Gripen.

“This decision will cause a security gap,” Swiss federal councillor, Ueli Maurer said in a statement. “We will do everything we can to fill this gap in these difficult circumstances as quickly as is possible. Different options on how best to ensure the armed force’s operational readiness must be considered in the next few months.”

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In a separate statement, President and CEO of Saab, Håkan Buskhe said: “We respect the process in Switzerland and do not comment on today’s outcome in the referendum. Following selection in 2011, hundreds of business relationships in Switzerland have been created through the Swiss Industrial Participation programme, which was created in relation to the Gripen E procurement.”

Switzerland had selected the JAS-39E/F Gripen, an advanced development of the in-service JAS-39C/D. The E/F is currently in development for service with Sweden and Brazil.

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9 Comments

  • Raymond

    says:

    A shame. I’m glad ADF acquisitions aren’t subjected to such a process! It’d be a nightmare.

    So, what are the Swiss thinking? Do they think the Gripen is the wrong choice or that the Swiss air force doesn’t need new fighters at all?

  • Raymond

    says:

    PS. That’s a very nice-looking Gripen, but why don’t the Swiss order more Hornets instead, as they already have these in service, they’re a great multirole fighter, and a common fleet would help with costs.

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      The Super Hornet was offered, as were the Rafale and Eurofighter, but the Swiss chose the Gripen based on operating cost and a large industrial involvement.

      Not sure what happens next sorry.

      Cheers

      Andrew

  • Darren

    says:

    My understanding is this was a choice between purchasing a replacement for the aging F-5’s and nothing, effectively downsizing the Air Force. Much was made in Sweden of the Swiss deal to get the E/F over the line in that country. Indeed the ‘F’ two seater was a Swiss requirement as the Swede’s originally were going to save costs with a single seat version only. So it will be interesting to see if this affects the Swedish purchase.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Okay, I thought only the Rafale, the Eurofighter and the Gripen were considered.

  • Walter Buschor

    says:

    This is a mistake caused through ignorance and simple pigheadesness. I does come down to wether one wants and deserves a viable airforce or not. Remember that an Airforce is the spearhead of defending a nation . I guess that Switzerland is not worth defending. So be it.Might as well give it to Belgrade and the Yugoslaves or anyone else who cares to express an interest. Th army won’t care since all believe it is only a lot of bullshit. The Greens are to busy saving the world but forget that they forgot to safe themselfs.
    You get what you deserve !

  • Ben

    says:

    They already have Gipen C/D models so in reality (type commonality) the race would have been between the Super Hornet and the E/F Gipen.

    I had this conversation recently with someone re our F-35 buy. Same thing really… It’s going to cost them just as much to keep the F-5’s going as the Gipen purchase with far less capability as a result! I said the same with keeping our Classics going vs getting the F-35. (As much as I prefer the Hornet over the Lightning II)

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      The Swiss already have Gripen C/D? Maybe you’re thinking of Sweden? Switzerland has F-18C/Ds and F-5E/Fs, and is looking to replace the F-5s.

      Cheers

      Andrew

  • Pete75

    says:

    Who is going to attack Switzerland? Italy? Germany? France? Austria?

    And what would they be able to do about it even if they had 22 Grippens? Lose slightly more slowly?

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