Switzerland is to relaunch its efforts to procure a new fighter type following the recent announcement by the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) that it is prematurely retiring a third of the ageing Northrop F-5E Tiger II fleet due to cracking.

Speaking on 20 April to national broadcaster RTS, Defence Minister Ueli Maurer said that the cracking in 16 of the country’s 32 serviceable F-5Es (10 of which will be retired and 6 repaired and returned to service) coupled with the relatively small number of Boeing F/A-18 Hornets in service had left the air force in a ‘critical’ position. Once the retirements and repairs were complete, the country would be left with just 22 F-5E and 32 F/A-18C/D frontline fighters.

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