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-18 C/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 in Sweden’s Gripen. As one might expect, Switzerland’s left is working hard to derail any purchase. Once the necessary legislative hurdles are overcome, the new Swiss fighters are likely to face a national referendum, just like Switzerland’s 1993 buy of F/A-18 Hornets. DID presents the background, the candidates, and current developments.