F-35As belonging to the 34th Fighter Squadron “Rude Rams”, based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, are participating in the flight and ground evaluation for “Air 2030” in Payerne Air Base from June 6 to 13, according to the Aviationist.
“Air 2030” is the Swiss Air Force’s program aimed to the selection of the future fighter that will replace both the F-5 and F/A-18 jets in service today. The program was announced last year after a referendum rejected the acquisition of the Saab Gripen E back in 2014.
Four F-35As, sent by the US Air Force to support Lockheed Martin, arrived in Payerne after a transatlantic flight from Hill AFB in the late evening of May 31, 2019. The jets involved are serials 13-5077, 13-5079, 13-5081, 13-5083. This event also represents the first time the fifth-generation aircraft lands in Switzerland.
According to SkyNews, the jets “will carry out a total of eight missions with one or two fighter aircraft for four days each. Before the actual test flights, the providers are offered the opportunity to get an idea of the procedures in Swiss airspace with another flight. Each aircraft will also start a night flight.” The systems mainly tested are reported to be the AESA radar, EOTS and DAS.