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SWISS PARLIAMENT APPROVES THE PURCHASE OF 34 McDONNELL DOUGLAS F/A-18 HORNET FIGHTERS

             SWISS PARLIAMENT APPROVES THE PURCHASE OF
             34 McDONNELL DOUGLAS F/A-18 HORNET FIGHTERS
    ST. LOUIS, June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Swiss Parliament has approved the purchase of 34 McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters for the Swiss Air Force.
    The lower house, the Nationalrat, approved the Hornet procurement by a vote of 103-84 June 12.  The action came after the upper house, the Standerat, had approved it by a vote of 33-8 in March.
    Under language written into the bill by the lower house, a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA), and funding beyond 50 million Swiss francs ($34.2 million), must await a national referendum on whether Switzerland should purchase combat aircraft before the year 2000.  The upper house agreed to the bill's changes June 17 by a vote of 27-6.
    The referendum has not yet been scheduled, but Swiss officials hope that it can be held within a year.  If not, the letter of agreement may be signed after July 1, 1993.
    The parliament's action "is a positive step forward that marks another important milestone in giving the Swiss Air Force the means to provide air defense," said Charlie Plummer, who manages the Swiss F/A-18 program for McDonnell Douglas.  "The Parliament is saying yes to the F/A-18, and we are very pleased with that."
    McDonnell Douglas plans "to fully support the Swiss government in its efforts to modernize its air force," Plummer said.  "We are confident that when the Swiss people have the opportunity to consider the alternatives, they will support the government's position."
    The Swiss government first selected the F/A-18 in 1988. The Hornet has moved through approval processes within the Swiss Air Force, Military Department, Defense Ministry, Federal Council, and Parliament.
    The F/A-18 is manufactured at McDonnell Aircraft Co., the St. Louis-based combat aircraft division of McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD), where some 7,000 people are associated with the program. More than 1,100 F/A-18s are in service worldwide with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and the air forces of Canada, Australia, Spain and Kuwait.  In addition, Finland has signed an agreement to purchase 64 F/A-18s for its air force.
    -0-                      6/18/92
    /CONTACT:  Daryl Stephenson of McDonnell Aircraft Co., 314-232-8203 or 314-234-7019/
    (MD) CO:  McDonnell Aircraft Co. ST:  California IN:  ARO SU:  CON EH -- LA023 -- 1700 06/18/92 17:38 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 18, 1992
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