PARIS - Dassault criticized the financial logic of selecting the Saab Gripen after Switzerland selected the Swedish single-engine fighter jet over the competition rivals Eurofighter Typhoon and the French-built Rafale.
"The 'Swiss-tailored' Gripen only exists on paper. Its technical development and production risk significantly increasing the financial efforts required of the Swiss authorities to accomplish the country's fighter aircraft program," the Dassault-led Rafale International team said in a Nov. 30 statement.
The Rafale reaction came after Switzerland earlier announced it would buy 22 Gripen fighters to replace its fleet of F-5 Tigers.
A Rafale selection would have met the Swiss operational requirements with a smaller number of aircraft "at an equivalent or lower cost," the Rafale industrial team said. Those capabilities had been "demonstrated during the assessments by the Swiss Air Force," the statement said.
The Rafale team regretted that the Swiss authorities "knowingly decided not to position Switzerland at the highest European level as regards to the performance of the new fighter aircraft," the statement said, quoting the Swiss Federal Council.
Saab welcomed the Swiss selection of the Gripen.
"Given that Switzerland is known globally for applying (the) highest procurement standards and requesting state-of-the art technologies, Saab is both proud and delighted that Gripen has been chosen as the Swiss Air Force's future multirole fighter aircraft," Saab said in a statement.
"The Gripen program will create a long-term partnership between Switzerland and Sweden. Saab assures Switzerland a long-term strategic industrial co-operation aimed at creating sustainable high tech jobs, transferring technology and generating export business," the statement said.
The Rafale team said it had reached out to 250 Swiss companies to create a local industrial partnership in the 26 Swiss cantons.
The Swiss defeat follows a setback in the United Arab Emirates for the Rafale, with Dassault's bid described as "uncompetitive and unworkable," by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, who is also deputy supreme commander of the armed forces.