American Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters are almost the only 5th generation fighters to be mass-produced. Except for the Chinese Chengdu J-20. But if the Chengdu J-20 is used only by Chinese aircraft (about 50 vehicles), the F-35 is purchased by many NATO countries and US partners. Demand for the F-35 is high (almost 800 fighters have already been built) and is growing steadily as many countries want to upgrade their air force fleets.
One of the countries that chose the F-35 as the main combat aircraft was Switzerland. Indeed, the aircraft of this neutral country consists of only 27 old Northrop F-5E light fighters (manufactured in 1972-1987) and 25 good, but already a bit outdated multi-role Boeing F/A-18C fighters. The latter were to replace the brand new Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. The cost of this contract, which provides for the supply of 36 fighters, is $5.5 billion.
But Switzerland is a country where many issues are decided in national referendums, so opponents of rearmament, the “peace party”, Group for a Switzerland without an army, became angry over “excessive” spending and promised to hold a referendum to repeal what they called “unnecessary Ferrari options.”
The Swiss government did not wait for the referendum, but hurried to sign a contract with Lockheed Martin, because the demand for F-35 is really growing, and the terms of the contract in case of delay could be revised and the date of delivery of fighters postponed. And without that, under the current contract, the supply of the first aircraft will begin only in 2027!
In addition, many countries have already managed to increase spending on weapons systems, especially the Air Force and Air Defense. For example, Finland has decided to buy 64 F-35As, Germany – up to 35 fighters, and Canada – 88. Probably Russia should be thanked for this.
By the way, Russia has only 3 (three) 5th generation Su-57 fighters. Two of these three planes struck Ukraine but did not dare to cross the border. That is, the combat capabilities of these fighters remain in question.