Swiss activists drop campaign against F-35 fighter deal

Activists have withdrawn their campaign to stop Switzerland from buying 36 F-35A fighter jets after the government signed a $5.5 billion procurement deal without waiting for a referendum.

 An F-16 fighter jet. (photo credit: LOCKHEED MARTIN)
An F-16 fighter jet.
(photo credit: LOCKHEED MARTIN)

Activists have withdrawn their campaign to stop Switzerland from buying 36 Lockheed Martin LMT.N F-35A Lightning II fighter jets after the government signed a $5.5 billion procurement deal without waiting for a referendum.

Switzerland and fighter jets

Switzerland chose the F-35 last year as its next-generation fighter jet, angering opponents who said they would ensure a referendum to overturn what they called an unnecessary "Ferrari" option.

Parliament approved the deal last week, and a contract was signed on Monday even as opponents were gathering signatures to force a referendum under the Swiss system of direct democracy.

"The Alliance against the F-35 will not lend a hand for a pseudo-referendum in which the electorate cannot decide on the actual purchase decision," the group said on Tuesday.

 Two F35 fighter jets from the Vermont Air National Guard's 134th fighter squadron, which are for the first time part of NATO's security policy, stand parked at Skopje Airport, North Macedonia June 17, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/OGNEN TEOFILOVSKI) Two F35 fighter jets from the Vermont Air National Guard's 134th fighter squadron, which are for the first time part of NATO's security policy, stand parked at Skopje Airport, North Macedonia June 17, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/OGNEN TEOFILOVSKI)

"A vote after the contract has been signed is nothing but a democratic farce. For this reason, the Alliance against the F-35 will withdraw its popular initiative, but remains convinced that the F-35 is a bad purchase and a billion-dollar risk for Switzerland."