Switzerland boosts ATFLIR order for Hornet fleet

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Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems has received a $42 million contract to supply the Swiss air force with a further 14 ASQ-228 ATFLIR electro-optical/infrared targeting pods.

Being acquired via the USA's Foreign Military Sales mechanism, the sensors will be used to equip the remainder of Switzerland's 33 Boeing F-18C/D Hornet fighters. Berne ordered an initial 20 ATFLIR pods early last year as part of a potentially $535 million upgrade to the fleet.

 
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The Swiss air force operates 33 F/A-18C/Ds

Switzerland is meanwhile expected to reach a decision early next year in its delayed process to acquire a replacement for its Northrop F-5 interceptors. The selection will be between the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen, with the selected company expected to deliver up to 33 aircraft.

Flight tests involving the rival types were completed last December, but a platform selection was delayed by at least six months from a planned July target date.

However, industry sources fear that the up to $1.9 billion deal could yet be derailed by a possible public referendum on the purchase. The Swiss air force has 58 F-5E/Fs in its inventory, according to Flight's MiliCAS database.