Swiss F-35: Rising prices and falling industrial compensation

Barely 5 months after the Lockheed-Martin F-35A was selected to replace the F-5 and F / A 18 of the Swiss air force, announcements and disillusions accumulate for manufacturers, but also for Swiss taxpayers, who will have to put their hands on the portfolio much more than initially announced to acquire the 36 American fighter jets. Indeed, on the occasion of the publication of the contractual data proposed by the United States in Bern within the framework of this contract, the first slippages are already apparent, and will very probably weigh heavily in the citizen vote which is emerging, as well as on the parliamentary inquiry launched a few days ago.

In the first place, it appeared that the budgetary envelope devoted to the acquisition of the 36 devices had known a significant increase between June and November, of nearly 20%, bringing the price requested by Lockheed-Martin to 6 billion Swiss francs, officially attributed to the inflation outlook by 2031. Surprisingly, however, the contract for the acquisition of the Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries, he, remained the same at SF 1,9 billion. Obviously, the inflationary risk is very sectoral across the Atlantic. In addition, a murderous contractual clause has appeared in the contract proposed by Washington, according to which any additional operating costs, which were initially to be borne by the American seller, will only be borne until 2031. Knowing that the fleet acquired by Berne is expected to be in service for the next 50 years, and that delivery of the devices will not begin until 2026, the fiscal risk is minimal for the United States, and the obvious trap for the Swiss themselves .

For Norway, the prices announced by Lockheed-Martin during recent trade negotiations in Switzerland or Belgium do not represent the reality of the costs it is facing itself.

In addition to the additional billion Swiss francs that the 36 F-35A will cost, Swiss manufacturers had the unpleasant surprise to note that the industrial compensation linked to the contract, which was initially supposed to represent 3,6 billion Swiss francs, of which 1,1 billion Swiss francs in French-speaking Switzerland , had been reduced to only CHF 2,9 billion. While they had to, contractually, represent 60% of the value of the final contract, they now represent only 48% of this amount, without taking into account the maintenance costs, that is to say a shortfall of 700 million Swiss francs. Not only will this lead to a social deficit in terms of employment and industrial activity for the Swiss economy, but with an average levy rate of 43%, the shortfall for Swiss public finances will rise in terms of him to 300 million Swiss francs, to which must be added the additional 1 billion Swiss francs of the contract. Compared to some 2,2 million Swiss tax households, this increase will represent an additional cost of almost CHF 600 per household. Unfortunately, however, this only concerns the acquisition component, and other unpleasant surprises await Swiss taxpayers in the months to come.

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