Why is the Rafale deal not transparent

New fighter jets for Switzerland - US jets under fire: "The CIA always flies there"

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In 2021 the Federal Council will decide on new combat aircraft. The origin of the manufacturer plays a decisive role.

The vote on the procurement of new fighter jets last year was a shiver: 50.1 percent of the electorate said yes. As a result, the Air Force does not yet have a new fighter aircraft. The evaluation is in progress - the Federal Council wants to make the type decision in the next few months.

There are four models to choose from. The Eurofighter from Germany, the Rafale from France and the two American aircraft F / A-18 Super Hornet and F-35. The latter cause red heads among fighter jet opponents. SP National Councilor Priska Seiler-Graf warns above all against buying the most modern US jet: “The F-35 was designed as a supercomputer and continuously supplies data. The software is controlled and monitored by the USA. Or to put it bluntly: The CIA always flies there. "

The designated commander of the Swiss Air Force contradicts this. Peter Merz was the project manager for the procurement of a new fighter jet. He has looked at all the models and says: “If we have a spare parts store and tools and our people are well trained, then it doesn't matter which nation we buy the plane from. We're all equally independent - or a little bit dependent. "

The Swiss Air Force already flies a US model. The F / A-18 Hornet has been in the service of the Swiss Air Force for more than 20 years. This F / A-18 is also equipped with a lot of electronics and software. Peter Merz shows understanding for skepticism: “Cyber ​​attacks on state institutions, on the private sector and the economy are repeated. But that's exactly why we have such an elaborate protection concept. "

Manipulation from outside is excluded

The planes are designed in such a way that they are maximally protected. The systems of the F / A-18 are encrypted, for example the satellite-based navigation, the data exchange between the aircraft, the radio or the recognition of friend and foe.

The aircraft can still be flown even if such a system fails or is even deliberately switched off, says Merz, with backup systems. But what happens if the manufacturer intervenes in the controls of the aircraft? For Merz this is impossible: “They are not drones. The technology is designed in such a way that it supports or relieves the pilot, but does not fly himself. You can't control the jet remotely or manipulate the weapons - that just doesn't work. "

The long way to the new fighter jets - the timeline

Open the box Close the box
  • May 18, 2014: The electorate rejects the Federal Council's proposal to purchase 22 Gripen e-fighter jets.
  • November 8, 2017: Federal Council's decision on the direction to renew the means to protect the airspace and thus to buy new fighter jets.
  • December 6th, 2018: The BDP transfers the motion «Luftwaffe. Fundamental decision before the people! " to the Federal Council. The demand: The electorate should decide whether new combat aircraft should be procured, detached from the question of type.
  • April-June 2019: Possible new combat aircraft are being tested at the Payerne military airfield.
  • September 27, 2020: The Swiss electorate says yes to new combat aircraft with 50.1%.
  • November 18, 2020: The providers Airbus (Europe), Boeing (USA), Lockheed Martin (USA) and Dassault (F) submit their offers.
  • 1st quarter 2021: An evaluation report on the new aircraft will be prepared.
  • End of the 2nd quarter of 2021: Decision of the Federal Council in favor of a fighter jet type.
  • Expected from 2025 to 2030: Delivery of the new combat aircraft.
  • 2030 to 2060: Duration of the new fighter jets.

Source: VBS, link will open in a new window.

By the end of this decade, the F / A-18 of the Swiss Air Force had had its day and a new model was needed. Like Priska Seiler-Graf, the Green National Councilor Marionna Schlatter was part of the No Committee before the vote. Now she wants to campaign for the Federal Council to acquire an aircraft made in Europe: “The aim must be to minimize dependency. If you take that as a major selection criterion, then the American jets will disappear. " Priska Seiler-Graf adds: "If dependent, then as little is possible and ideally on a European country."

The political component plays a major role in the selection. The SP is already threatening a popular initiative should the Federal Council decide in favor of the American F-35. That would result in another vote. And the procurement of a new fighter jet would be called into question again.

10 before 10 a.m., January 25, 2021, 9:50 p.m.

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  • Comment from Sam Meier (tsam39947)
    What happens "if the manufacturer intervenes in the controls of the aircraft?" is probably the wrong question. If a foreign country wanted to intervene in the operations of our air force in the event of a conflict, it would want to paralyze the fleet. And I'm not sure whether that would be possible through a back door on American aircraft. I was on a tour at RUAG in Emmen, where the F / A-18s are serviced. American officers are permanently present there. What for?!
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Thomas Trefzer (ttre)
    What is already clear is that it will probably not be an "off the shelf" plane. A bit of "Swissness" will be needed. Be it a drive with a wood gasifier or an eco-diesel ... ;-)
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Thomas Leu (tleu)
      @ Thomas Trefzer: At least the Swiss cross should already be on the tail fins of the machines. Otherwise we will fly around with American, French or German national emblems.
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. answer from Thomas Trefzer (ttre)
      Hope at least that's included in the "off the shelf" price. ;-)
      Agree agree to the comment
    3. answer from Sam Meier (tsam39947)
      The fact that everything has to be helvetized, after having renounced this procedure years ago, is not necessarily understandable. On the one hand it makes the procurement more expensive, on the other hand it also makes sense to rely on the tried and tested. The Helvetization of the drone that has just been procured from Israel does not seem to have been a success either.
      Agree agree to the comment
    4. Show answers
  • Comment from Peter Kunz (calanda)
    Ms. Seiler-Graf, could you perhaps also provide us with the facts about your statements. Or at least the sources for their claims.
    Agree agree to the comment

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