Switzerland is planning to replace its aging F-5 Tiger fleet after Swiss voters rejected a proposal to buy 22 Saab Gripens two years ago.
The country needs to allocate approximately $500 million as it plans to procure new fighter jets while keeping some of the existing F-5s operational beyond 2018.
The Swiss Defense Minister has formed a working group to examine the requirements of the Swiss Air Force 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 around $10 million is needed immediately to support the purchase of a new fighter jet, plus as much as $500 million to extend the lives of the F/A-18s and F-5s.
Specifically, the Air Force is planning to extend the life of the F-18s from 5,000 flight hours to 6,000 per aircraft.
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, but intends to reduce the latter fleet to 26 aircraft.