Defence & security sector in Switzerland

Defence & security sector in Switzerland

The Swiss security and defence market has grown at a solid pace of 6-8% annually over the last decade.

Pick pocketing has gone up by 40% in the last 2 years. Switzerland is becoming significantly more security conscious, due to the considerable growth in crime, riots, assaults, fraud, pick-pocketing and burglary in the cities. Additionally Swiss rail, road and public safety operators are constantly updating their emergency response methods. Most importantly Swiss law has recently been adapted to allow more CCTV camera installations to maintain public order.

Market overview

Defence: The Swiss Defence Department (VBS Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport) was not planning to procure military equipment in 2013; Available funds were earmarked for the new fighter jets. However, since the purchase of the Gripen combat aircraft has repeatedly been delayed by parliament. Funds have now been released. The Swiss Military have a £515 million procurement budget.

Security: The Swiss population invest significantly in individual alarms, preferring complex, professionally installed systems. Major supermarkets and department stores are now offering a growing selection of security devices and systems. After years of almost total domination by local companies – Cerberus AG (now part of Siemens) and Securiton – the market is opening up to new products and suppliers. Professional security systems are becoming the standard with the majority of medium and large companies.

Key opportunities

The Swiss military procurement programme consists of five elements:

1. Telecommunications The VBS is planning to invest 209 million francs in the "Defence Operations Network," which is composed of radio beam and glass fibre connections to build up networks to link command systems, independent of civilian networks. This system should be modernized and better protected – with concrete reinforcement in order to protect it against bomb attacks and with high-tech measures to defend against hackers.

2. Emergency Bridges In late 2012, after 45 years of operation, the Fixed Bridge 69 was decommissioned. To replace it, in 2011, the army ordered a new bridge system, suitable to bridge obstacles of a width of up to 45 meters. Now a second tranche will follow, worth 86 million francs.

3. Trucks Many army vehicles no longer met current security and emission regulations, Maurer said. Now, the defence minister is planning to procure new vehicles! worth 74 million francs: 100 new trucks from [commercial vehicle producer] Iveco should replace the obsolete Saurer 10 DM army trucks. In addition, plans are to purchase 360 new Mercedes vans and 500 trailers.

4. Armoured Personnel Carriers Currently, the army has 290 light-armoured, armed Duro vehicles from Mowag company in Kreuzlingen. For 222 million francs, the VBS is now planning to procure another 130 units. However, even then, only about two-thirds of all battalions could be equipped.

5. Spare Parts The army is planning to stock up on spare part for the F/A 18 fighter jets and various vehicle types; estimated costs: 149 million francs. 83 per cent of the 2013 military procurement programme will be supplied by the Swiss industry. The programme will provide jobs for 500 people over seven years. The parliament will have the final say on it.

Swiss Business Opportunities in Security:

Emergency Response

Switzerland has been updating their emergency response plans in rail, transport, aerospace and the police force. This opens up a wealth of opportunities for UK companies specialising in the security and emergency response training and preparation industry.


Swiss airports have been upgrading their security equipment and installations for a number of years. New airport equipment/installations must be designed to give the least amount of disruption and inconvenience to the travelling public and daily airport operations, while maintaining existing passenger flow levels.


The Swiss authorities are seeking new ways to prevent unlawful immigration. This opens many business opportunities for UK companies wanting to seek business overseas.

Switzerland has one of the highest immigration rates on the continent, 22.4 % of the total population of 7.6 million is foreign born, and 20.5 %, or nearly 1.5 million, are foreigners, defined as persons with a foreign nationality. Switzerland has forged closer ties with the European Union (EU), making it easier for EU citizens to live and work in Switzerland and vice versa. Although it is not part of the EU, Switzerland has had to face many of the same issues as its neighbours, from soaring numbers of asylum applications to problems regarding intergration.


The Federal Office of Police is sourcing new ways to prevent drug smuggling. They would like to introduce new analysis devices.

Switzerland’s current drugs policy is based on "prevention, therapy, harm reduction and law enforcement." The authorities have introduced a programme of supplying heroin addicts with the substitute, methadone, administered under controlled conditions.

The number of hard drug addicts in Switzerland is put at 45,000. Switzerland is one of the few European countries where abuse of cocaine and amphetamines is increasing.

Latest export opportunities – Defence

Latest export opportunities – Security

Latest export opportunities – Switzerland

Getting into the market

The Swiss demand reliable products, combined with swift and responsive back-up and service. UK companies have had past success in the supply of security equipment and products to the public sector in Switzerland. UK manufacturers have a good reputation in the provision of high quality products and a good service.

All business opportunities for the Swiss Armed Forces, Police and all Government bodies are added to the Swiss tendering portal Simap ( and the European Tendering portal ( Most of the opportunities are uploaded in English, but might require German or French documentation.

It is important to know that, even though Switzerland geographically is part of Western Europe, it is not a member of the European Union (EU). Currently Switzerland establishes its own standards, which whilst not designed for the European Community, invariably meet most of its requirements.

It is important that any UK defence / security company seeking to export equipment has the necessary export licence clearances from BIS Export Control Organisation. Companies should also check with the Ministry of Defence whether they require an F680 to market their equipment to Turkey. UKTI DSO will not provide support if a company does not have the necessary F680 clearances.

More about doing business in Switzerland


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists based overseas – or contact your local international trade team.

  • Emmeline Santana, British Embassy Berne.

  • Tel: +41 (0)31 359 77 33

  • email: [email protected]

Contact your local international trade team

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events – Defence & Security

Major Events

SICHERHEIT TRADEFAIR 2013 (12-15 November 2013)


Email: [email protected]

Time: 12-15 November 2013

UKTI’s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides grant support for eligible Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SME’s) to attend trade shows overseas. Find out more about UKTI support for attendance at overseas events

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Export Control

Sectors: Defence & Security
Countries: Switzerland
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