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«Fighter aircraft will remain essential in future»

The security situation has become less stable, less clear and more unpredictable, in Europe and around the world. International developments are fast-moving and uncertain, also affecting the security position in Switzerland. The security policy report currently out for consultation considers this. Pälvi Pulli, Head of Security Policy DDPS, explainsWe explain what it has to do with procuring new fighter aircraft.

Pälvi Pulli, Head of Security Policy DDPS

Pälvi Pulli sitting at a table with a vase of yellow tulips.
Pälvi Pulli, Head of Security Policy DDPS

 

There is a growing trend towards hybrid warfare, using means such as cyber technology and disinformation. The way threats are developing, armed conflicts can come in different forms that rapidly mutate. Countries deploy conventional military weapons too these days to pursue their national interests, including in Europe. At the same time, threats like terrorism have not gone away. Climate change will result in more frequent and more serious natural disasters, and on top of all that we also have a pandemic. According to the Federal Council’s security report, military weapons, especially fighter aircraft, remain relevant, not least because they can be deployed in hybrid conflicts. At times of increased international tensions, Switzerland must be able to prevent unauthorised use of its airspace to stay out of conflicts. A direct attack on Switzerland is still seen as unlikely. But the impact such an attack would have is so huge that it cannot be ignored. The core task of the armed forces remains defence, including against threats from the air.

Fighter aircraft cover a broad range of uses

Fighter aircraft can be deployed in various situations. Tasks range from daily air policing duties and protecting major international conferences or when there are terror threats, to increased airspace monitoring in international crises and an armed conflict close to Switzerland. The security policy report sets out the capabilities the armed forces have to able to cover in an environment where conflicts are increasingly hybrid. They have to be capable of defending the country, the population and the infrastructure, protecting buildings, installations, transport axes and airspace and repelling attacks on people and critical facilities.

Investment for the future

Further, increased efforts are required if Switzerland is to remain secure. The environment is less safe than it was 10 or 20 years ago. New threats and dangers have emerged, while the old ones remain. Switzerland must be able to monitor and protect its airspace with its own means, and if necessary defend the country and people. Fighter aircraft can perform this task. These fly for 30-40 years. The threats that may develop over this period are unknown. If the current fighter aircrafts are replaced, by 2030 at the latest Switzerland will no longer have the means to protect itself against threats from the air.