Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Switzerland Replacing Old F-5 Fighters with New Gripen

The F-5E/F Tiger II was a follow-on upgrade to the wildly successful F-5 Freedom Fighter, a low-budget aircraft designed to capture the lower tier of the non-Soviet global fighter market in the 1960s and 1970s. A number of countries still operate F-5s, but the airframes are very old. While F-5 owners like Brazil, Chile, Thailand, et. al. have opted for comprehensive refurbishment and upgrades, Switzerland is looking to replace 3 of its 5 Tiger II squadrons with new aircraft under its Tiger-Teilersatz TTE program. The new fighters will partner with the 3 squadrons of upgraded F/A-18C/D Hornets that make up the rest of its fighter fleet.
An initial evaluation RFP was issued to 4 contenders, but Boeing’s withdrawal narrowed the selection to Sweden’s Gripen, France’s Rafale, or EADS’ Eurofighter Typhoon. A 2010 suspension of the competition was followed by a measured revival, thanks to the latest budgets – and now, by a provisional winner. No
matter who won, though, left-wing opponents of Switzerland’s military would be working hard to derail the purchase. It’s likely to face a national referendum, just like the 1993 F/A-18 Hornet sale. After the current controversy over fighter evaluations runs its course:

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