After a vote ‘on the razor’s edge’ Swiss will purchase new fighter jets

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BERN, (BM) – On Sunday, the Swiss voted in a referendum on various topics for the procurement of new combat aircraft for a maximum of six billion francs. Now the government can choose a supplier, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Flug Revue.

Read more: Why Switzerland May Buy F-35 Fighter Jet?

The vote count had dragged on until around 5 p.m. and it was very close. For a long time, the fighter jet opponents were even slightly in front before the tide turned: it was 1,604,899 ‘yes’ votes against 1,595,156 ‘no’ votes, an increase of just 9743 votes.

The question on the ballot paper was: “Do you want to accept the Federal Decree of December 20, 2019 on the procurement of new combat aircraft?”

The Federal Council and Parliament had recommended a “Yes”: “The Federal Council and Parliament want to continue to protect the people in Switzerland from threats from the air. This will require new combat aircraft, as the current fleet will have to be taken out of service by 2030. The new aircraft are necessary for the long-term security of Switzerland and strengthen our neutrality “, so the argumentation.

According to the referendum committee, “the federal resolution gives the Federal Council and Parliament a blanket power of attorney to buy superfluous luxury fighter jets at a price of 6 billion francs”. The money for this will be missing in the health system, in disaster control or in the fight against climate change.

“It is a great success for the Greens and the SP – and a great vote of no confidence in Federal Councilor Viola Amherd and those parties that had campaigned for the procurement,” said the Green National Councilor Regula Rytz. The campaign showed that Switzerland’s security does not primarily depend on fighter jets. “Switzerland wants you to invest where it is necessary – especially in combating the climate crisis”.

Switzerland purchased Israeli Hermes 900 UAVs

In December last year Switzerland received the first of six Elbit Systems Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft system (UAS), as we reported according the Swiss government statement.

The Swiss government awarded Elbit Systems an approximately $200 million contract for the procurement of six Hermes 900 UAS in November 2015. Deliveries are expected to be completed by 2021.

Read more: The Swiss Has Formally Recommended to Saab Not to Participate in the Upcoming Flight Tests in Switzerland

The Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Kochav (Star) is an Israeli medium-size, multi-payload, medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for tactical missions. It is a sequel to the Hermes 450 series of drones, one of the most widely used military drones in the world.

It has an endurance of over 30 hours and can fly at a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet (9,100 m), with a primary mission of reconnaissance, surveillance and communications relay. The Hermes 900 has a wingspan of 15 m (49 ft) and weighs 970 kg (2,140 lb), with a payload capability of 300 kg (660 lb).

Payload options include electro-optical/infrared sensors, synthetic-aperture radar/ground-moving target indication, communications and electronic intelligence, electronic warfare, and hyperspectral sensors.

SkyView upgrades the Air Surveillance system of Switzerland

In September last year [2019 – ed.] SkyView was selected by the Swiss Federal Office for Defence Procurement (armasuisse) to upgrade the country’s FLORAKO air surveillance system, which provides 24/7 surveillance and protection of national airspace, territory and populations, as we reported then.

SkyView correlates civil and military data in real time, providing a better overall picture of national airspace and allowing faster decisions to be made. It also enables operators to conduct air policing operations and detect and respond to all types of airborne threats.

SkyView is the culmination of 50 years of experience in air operations and has been deployed at over 80 command and control centres in more than 30 countries. It processes data from over 600 radars and interconnects with external systems via more than 60 types of interfaces. The product is co-developed with users according to a roadmap that reflects their exact requirements.

“I would like to thank armasuisse for its continued trust in us for a project that is vital to Switzerland’s national sovereignty. SkyView 4.0 is an all-digital system incorporating the latest Big Data and artificial intelligence technologies, and will provide the Swiss Air Force with a highly capable solution for airspace surveillance and air command and control” said then Thomas Got, Thales Vice President in charge of Air Operations and Weapon Systems.

Read more: Top 5 best fifth generation fighter jets in the World

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