Rafale F3-R
Copyright: Deyan Raleff

Switzerland Air2030: the Rafale candidate

The air and the ground testing of the five combat jets candidates for the Swiss Air2030 program are taking place at the Payerne air base from April to the end of June. On the Swiss military airfield, the aircrafts will be subject to stringent checks regarding their characteristics and performance.

From April to June 2019 Payerne will be the scene of an important and rigorous evaluation testing campaign in which the 5 competitors will be challenged through various phases of analysis and testing, to determine who will be the heir of the F/A-18  C or D Hornets and the F-5 Tiger II.

While on 23rd  March 2018 the DDPS had defined the requirements that the new weapon systems would have had to satisfy, on 25 January 2019 the five candidates presented their offers for new jets to Armasuisse: Eurofighter (Airbus, Germany), F/A-18 Super Hornet (Boeing, USA), Rafale (Dassault, France), F-35A (Lockheed-Martin, USA) and Gripen E (Saab, Sweden).

The two twin jet fighter aircrafts landed in Payerne on thursday 16.05.2019. This is the 3rd plane to be tested on the Swiss program. Those planes belong to the French Air Forces ( Armée de l’Air). One of them comes from the Istres air base and the other one in Saint-Dizier.

After Egypt, Qatar and India the Dassault group is working hard to add Switzerland on their buyers list too. In this respect they enhanced the following criteria to convince the local medias and attendees about the aircraft acquisition. The aim is to give support to the Swiss Air Force and Armasuisse through ambitious defense (military and armaments) cooperation in the service of the Swiss autonomy.

  • Support for the acquisition of operational capacity and program management
  • Transfer of know-how and expert skills
  • Training and training staff exchanges
  • Sharing experiences feedback

For the record, the Rafale is a new-generation combat aircraft. He joined the French Navy in 2004 and the Air Force in 2006. Since that date, Rafale has been through constant evolution and changes to reach its most valuable operational capacity. Nowadays it has proven value to be operational on various war theatres in its “omnirole” capability. It’s definitively a remarkable tool but now questions remains whether Swiss Air Force really needs it?

The presented aircrafts are the version Rafale F3-R with TALIOS (Thales) included but not limited pod systems. The next aircraft on the list will be the F-35 by the beginning of June.

Article and images: Deyan Raleff