The Swiss government signed an agreement with the USA to purchase the F-35A type fighter jet.
In a statement from the government, it was announced that the Federal Armaments Office has reached an agreement with the US authorities to procure 36 F-35As today.
F-35A deliveries, which will begin in 2027, will continue until 2030, and the F-35As will replace the existing F/A-18 Hornets and F-5 Tigers jets in the Swiss Air Force.
On the other hand, the government’s signing of the agreement without waiting for the opposition’s referendum process drew criticism.
Opposition parties claimed that it was illegal to sign the F-35A agreement without waiting for the results of the referendum, while the Inspection Commission of the Swiss Parliament stated that the agreement was “worrying” but “not against the law”.
In the referendum held in Switzerland in 2020, the proposal to modernize the army was accepted by a majority of votes, but it was not specified in the referendum text that war materials would be purchased from which countries within the scope of modernization.
After the referendum, the government signed a preliminary agreement worth 6 billion Swiss francs ($6.1 billion) to buy 36 F-35As from the United States.
Opposition parties had called for taking the issue to a public vote on the grounds that there was no indication that F-35As would be received in the 2020 referendum.
The opposition, which gathered signatures under the “Stop the F-35s” campaign, announced on May 27 that they had reached the 100,000 signatures required for the referendum.