Switzerland renews its air bases for the arrival of the F-35A.

Construction measures are planned at air bases for the new F-35A fighter jets. At the Payerne site (FR/VD), the plan approval procedure for a new training center and other infrastructure adaptations is starting.

The new F-35A fighters, arriving in Switzerland in mid-2028, will operate at the Payerne, Meiringen and Emmen air bases. As the dimensions of the F-35A are comparable to those of the F/A-18 Hornet, much of the existing real estate infrastructure can be reused for the new aircraft. However, it will be necessary to adapt the training infrastructure, technical facilities and safety devices. Parliament granted a commitment credit of 120 million francs for these construction measures in 2022. A public inquiry into a construction project in Payerne

The process of approving military construction plans begins for this construction project at the Payerne Airbase. In the municipalities of Payerne, Estavayer and Grandcour, application files are available for consultation from October 6 to November 6, 2023. Thus, The population and municipalities can express themselves about these plans.

The military plan approval procedure application documents will also be made public for the Meiringen and Emmen air bases. The DDPS will inform you about it.

Payerne: a new training center and other adaptations

The Payerne air base construction project foresees a new training center for the F-35A that will bring together training facilities such as flight simulators or educational tools for ground personnel. The construction of two new buildings will be necessary. Too small to house all of these facilities, the buildings currently assigned to the F/A-18 Hornet simulators will no longer be used.

The new training center will be used and operated by the Air Force. The building will also house the systems planning and engagement rooms needed for the F-35A. Adaptation to the new type of aircraft will also be necessary in the aviation caverns and pit facilities, in the maintenance room and in the workshop building. The roofs of the new buildings will be largely environmentally friendly and will be equipped with photovoltaic modules that will produce around 989,200-kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

In the last 10 years, more than 400 million francs have been invested in the Payerne air base. Over the next 10 years, the DDPS is expected to invest around CHF 250 million in the renovation of the Payerne site, for example, for the construction measures of the new F-35A fighter aircraft, for the new joint construction of the Western military police and the medical center, for the new administrative complex and the rehabilitation of the flight surfaces.

Meiringen: adaptation of parking lots, premises and alarm shelters

In Meiringen, the adaptations mainly affect the technical installations of the aircraft parking spaces and the systems planning and intervention rooms. Construction measures are also necessary for alarm shelters. According to current planning, the construction measures will be implemented in 2025.

Until 2029, investments totaling 68 million francs are planned at the Meiringen air base. Some 41 million francs have already been invested in the years 2015 to 2021 for maintenance and new buildings.

Emmen: new building and adaptation of the rooms

Emmen Air Base will construct a new building to house the systems planning and engagement rooms. In addition, existing lounges will be adapted to the new aircraft. The construction process is scheduled to begin in 2025.

Total investments of 114 million francs are planned for the Emmen air base until 2029. From 2015 to 2021, around 126 million francs have already been invested.

Separate briefings on the acoustic situation

The consequences of the F-35A on the acoustic situation are not the subject of the present plan approval procedure in Payerne. To this end, the DDPS will organize information meetings in December 2023 in Payerne, Meiringen and Emmen.

DDPS is committed to keeping noise exposure as low as possible. To do this, the project team, together with the aircraft manufacturer and the Federal Materials Testing and Research Laboratory (EMPA), analyzed the effect of different flight paths on noise emissions. The results of these noise calculations will be presented to the municipalities during the aforementioned information meetings. The DDPS is pleased to continue the open dialogue with the cantons and municipalities of the air bases.

Swiss Ministry of Defense