ZURICH, June 27 (Reuters) – Airbus has offered to assemble Eurofighter jets in Switzerland if Bern chooses it for a 6 billion Swiss francs ($ 6.5 billion) defense contract, a senior consortium official said to a Swiss Sunday newspaper.
Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain, which make the Eurofighter, have also offered Bern radical political cooperation if it wins the Swiss competition between two American fighter jets and two European fighter jets. , which must be delivered by 2025.
The Swiss cabinet must decide Wednesday between the Eurofighter, the Rafale of the French Dassault, the F / A-18 Super Hornet of Boeing and the F35-A Lightning II of Lockheed Martin to replace the aging F / A-18 Hornet.
Swiss television reported last week that the F-35 offered the best technical and financial characteristics in a Swiss evaluation, but the final decision was still open.
The SonntagsZeitung newspaper quoted Bernhard Brenner, sales manager at Airbus Defense and Space, as saying that neutral Switzerland should not rely on this assessment alone.
“The economic and political elements are equally important,” he said. The newspaper said Airbus submitted a 700-page dossier on economic “offsets” alone, referring to side deals that shift contract costs back to local suppliers.
The government is divided between those who favor the F-35 and those who would prefer a European deal to help smooth relations with the European Union after Switzerland abandoned a draft bilateral treaty after years of talks.
Defense ministers of Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain wrote to Bern last year to propose not only military cooperation such as training, but also partnerships in the fields of economy, energy, science, environment, transport, cybersecurity and infrastructure, Brenner told the newspaper.
France pushed Berne to choose the Rafale, while US President Joe Biden discussed the deal with Swiss leaders in Geneva this month to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Defense Ministry declined to comment on the process. ($ 1 = 0.9175 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Alexander Smith)