Swiss parliament reviews choice of F-35 fighters

ZURICH, Nov 17 (Reuters) - A Swiss parliamentary committee will review how the government decided to buy Lockheed Martin’s F-35A Lightning II as its next-generation fighter jet, it said.

Switzerland said in June it would buy 36 F-35As in a $5.5 billion deal after an evaluation found it had “the highest overall benefit at the lowest overall cost”.

That angered opponents, who have pledged a referendum to overturn what they dubbed an unnecessary “Ferrari” option.

The lower house's Business Audit Committee decided on Tuesday to "examine selected aspects of the evaluation procedure for the new fighter aircraft... in the context of in-depth investigations with regard to their legality and appropriateness", it said here on its website.

The committee will start work in February and report back to the public at an unspecified later date.

“The aim of these investigations will in particular be to assess the methodology used when evaluating the aircraft available for selection,” it said.

They would also “investigate the allegation of the destruction of files by (military procurement agency) Armasuisse,... clarify the consideration of any political leeway in relation to the country of manufacture and... check compliance with other legal procurement principles,” it said.

The F-35A beat bids from Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Rafale from France’s Dassault and the four-nation Eurofighter built by Germany- and Spain-backed Airbus, Italy’s Leonardo and Britain’s BAE Systems. (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Jan Harvey)