Switzerland purchases Patriot missile defense system worth $2.2 billion

A shot of a Patriot missile battery firing an interceptor in a US Army test. The Patriot missile defense system is a ground-based interceptor able to eliminate airborne threats. photo: US Army

Switzerland has signed a contract to buy the most advanced version of the Lockheed Martin-made Patriot missile as an add-on to the country’s Air2030 program, the company announced Tuesday.

Lockheed did not detail the number of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement weapons Switzerland plans to buy. But the U.S. State Department previously approved a series of Swiss requests for Patriot equipment.

The most recent approval, in 2022, left the European nation eligible to buy up to 72 PAC-3 MSE missiles for about $700 million. Before that, in 2020, Switzerland was cleared for a $2.2 billion package that included five fire units, radars, launchers and 70 tactical PAC-2 Guidance Enhanced Missiles.

The contract, signed Oct. 30 as part of the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales process, will see Switzerland pay 300 million Swiss francs (U.S. $331 million) for the newest interceptor type, according to an Oct. 31 statement by the country’s military procurement agency Armasuisse.

The country’s military wants to use the PAC-3 MSE missiles — which have a shorter range than the tactical variant but can fly tighter maneuvers — for intercepting short-range missiles as well as defending against aircraft, drones and cruise missiles.

Switzerland’s core Patriot components are slated for delivery by manufacturer RTX starting in 2026, the procurement agency’s statement read. The PAC-3 missiles are expected from Lockheed, by way of the U.S. government, in 2028 and 2029.

Switzerland is the 15th country to buy the MSE version of the PAC-3 missile, according to Lockheed.

The country’s Air2030 program also includes the procurement of 36 Lockheed-made F-35 fighter jets for 6 billion Swiss francs.

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