Victorinox AG said it signed a contract in early September to produce the new soldier’s knife for the Swiss Army. The contract was let by armasuisse, the procurement, technology and real estate centre of the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport. The soldier’s knife 08 replaces the previous Swiss soldier’s knife, which was introduced in 1961.

The evaluation phase of the new soldier’s knife began in February 2008, when armasuisse issued a request for proposal. A total of seven suppliers from Switzerland and other countries were invited to participate in the evaluation process. Functional models submitted by suppliers underwent practical testing by military personnel in July 2008, while laboratory tests were used to assess compliance with technical requirements.

A cost-benefit analysis was conducted and the model with the best price/performance ratio was awarded the contract. The order for 75,000 soldier’s knives plus cases is worth CHF 1.38 million.

The new standard issue knife features a new ergonomic dual density handle, which will allow for a secure grip in extreme cold or wet weather situations. Other updates and features include a one-hand serrated locking blade, Phillips Screwdriver, can opener with small screwdriver, bottle opener with large locking screwdriver, wire stripper, reamer, key ring and wood saw. The standard issue model will be offered in a black and olive green combination handle which will be available at retail in spring of 2009.

The new soldier’s knives will be issued to troops during the first basic training sessions of 2009.