Have no enemies, but Switzerland wants to buy the US F-35 stealth fighter
Windowofworld.com – Switzerland, which last fought abroad more than 200 years ago and has no real enemies, wants to spend billions of US dollars on new fighter jets. The United States (US) Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jet is one of the aircraft options selected.
Some have opposed the idea of buying new fighter jets, saying that Switzerland is a neutral country that cannot or needs state-of-the-art fighters to defend the Alps territory that can be crossed by supersonic jets in 10 minutes.
According to those who oppose the idea, Ireland, Malta and Luxembourg have no fighter jets. The plan to spend up to 6 billion Swiss francs ($ 6.6 billion) on fighter jets is considered a waste of money.
“Who is our enemy? Who is attacking a small, neutral country surrounded by NATO ?,” asked Priska Seiler Graf, a leftist Social Democratic lawmaker. “This really doesn’t make sense,” he said, as quoted by Reuters, Monday (21/9/2020).
Voters will cast their votes on Sunday 27 September 2020. Through an escalating referendum, voter votes will allow the government to decide next year to buy Eurofighter from Airbus, Rafale from France’s Dassault, F / A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing, or F- 35 Lightning II from Lockheed Martin.
The new fighters, if purchased, will replace Switzerland’s aging fleet of 30 F / A-18 Hornet fighters, which will cease operating in 2030.
Seiler Graf says cheaper alternatives, such as the trainer version of the Leonardo M346, offer better value than what he calls “plush toys.” The alternative, he said, is being considered.
“We need a new plane, that’s not a problem, but buying a lighter and simpler plane is enough,” he said. “It would be better to have a Fiat than a Maserati.”
Lukas Golder of survey agency GFS Bern said voters were likely to support plans to buy a new cutting-edge fighter jet. In his opinion, armed neutrality is essential to how Switzerland defines itself, returning to the belief that a strong army repelled the invasion of Nazi Germany in World War II.
MP Thomas Hurter of the far-right Swiss People’s Party, who is also a former Air Force pilot, said Switzerland must protect itself without depending on other countries.
“If we don’t replace the old aircraft, it means we don’t have an Air Force, there is no more protection and we don’t fulfill our constitution,” he said.
According to him, the smaller jets could not fly high enough, or have the speed needed to react quickly to an emergency.
“We don’t know what will happen in the next 50 years,” Hurter said. “You have to prepare the fire department in case a house catches fire, otherwise it’s too late.”