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Aviation and Antaircraft Troops - till 31-12-95
Schweizer Luftwaffe / Forces Aériennes Suisse / Forze aeree svizzere
Swiss Air Force - from 01-01-96
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Last update 05-03-2022
The first evaluation of the Northrop F-5 was in June 1967, versions F-5A/F-5B, competeing against the LTV A-7A Corsair and the Douglas A-4M as a fighter-bomber but any decision was postponed to
a later (unknown) time.
year 1972 saw a new selection round to replace the remaining Hawker
Hunter; Saab J-37, BAe Harrier, GAMD Mirage F.1 and the Northrop F-5E
Tiger participated to it. Air support capabilities were
bandoned in favour of a local air superiority at low and medium altitudes (up to 6'000m), interception/ground attack being secondary functions. The Tiger was from the very beginning the preferred aircraft,
particularily in view of its militia suitability.
during 1973 involved an in-depth scrutinity of the Tiger; two Swiss
test pilots went in the autumn to the USA for a pre-evaluation,
following which Swiss in-country tests were requested. These
started with the arrival of two aircrafts (serials 71-01421/72-01386) at Emmen AB on August 12th, completed by September 23rd 1974. On September 30th they left for Ramstein AFB.
testing lasted two weeks; it included 62 flights fomm Emmen AB and
from St. Stephan AB. Five Swiss pilots had been trained between
mid-June and mid-July at Williams AFB for a total of 18.55 hours
on Northrop F-5B and 25.21 hours on the Tiger; four other pilots (including a militia one) were checked out in Switzerland on the single-seaters.
Mock air-combats were engaged against an Hawker Hunter Mk.58 and an Mirage IIIS; cannon firings against a target towed by an Hawker Hunter as well as against the wreck of a grounded
de Havilland Venom.
Northrop F-5E's 01421/01386 together with Hawker Hunter Mk.58A J-4157 High mountain Alpine insignia worn on the fin by Northop
over Central Switzerland Photos: Swiss AF F-5E serial 11421 on 23-09-74 during Swiss trials.
Photo: Swiss AF
Trials took place at Emmen, Meiringen, St Stephan Airports. The last (seen above) was a war base, only to be activated for repetition courses and in case of war. The picture gives an idea of the difficult
mountain operating conditions.
decision had been taken at this time wether to re-equip 4 or 5
Squadrons, needing 60 or 80 aircrafts (some of them two-seaters) and
if to build or assemble the aircraft under licence in Switzerland.
a decision was made to buy 66 Northrop F-5E, 13 built by Northrop, the remainder to be assembled by the local Federal Aircraft Factory (Eidgenössischen Flugzeugwerk) at Emmen, plus 6 double-seaters F-5F
built by Northrop. These were to re-equip four Hawker Hunter Mk.58 equipped Squadrons of 12 aircrafts plus 3 reserves each.
modifications to the basic aircraft included a Rear Warning Radar,
instllation of a Swiss IFF system, antiskidding brakes, a fatigue
meter, an improved General Electric APQ-159 radar and, for
from bases' montaneous caverns used as hangars, a gaseous oxygen system as well as strenthening of wing hardpoints to attach the aircraft to the cavern's roof.
for a credit of 1'170 millions Swiss Francs (ca USD 400m at the time)
was given by the Swiss parliament on 16-03-76; Foreign Military Sales
contract with the US Government (named "Peace Alps")
was signed on 30-03-76, the USAF being responsiblefor the execution.
further contact between the Swiss Federal Factory and Northrop
granted the licence for local assembly; all General Electric
J-85-A-21 engines were purchased directly in USA and airfreighted ex
Boston via the
national carrier Swissair.
Offset production for Swiss products (not necessarily military) was established with a target set to at least USD 135m (ca 30% of the costs); by November 1981 it had reached USD 209m (55%).
Events followed very fast after the signature of the contract.
team of 13 ground technicians went to the USA for 5 weeks; two
pilots, including the Armament Service - Flight Test Center (Gruppe
für Rüstungsdienste - Flugversuche/GRD) chief
pilot, went for five weeks in mid
1978 to Edwards AFB for tests and evaluation flights. There were initially problems with the braking system, insufficent on wet runways, and with the unsatisfactory radar during night flights.
Sub-assemblies for the first two aircrafts to be locally assembled arrived at Emmen on 30-11-77 on board of a Trans International Lockheed L-100.
Palmdale completed aircraft was the second frame (serial
J-3002), rolled out at Palmdale on 19-10-77, while the first Swiss
frame (serial J-3001) was first flown on 09-12-77. This aircraft
undertook all Swiss
specific tests and remained at the USAF Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, till at least July 1979 to complete the test programm. First flight of a Swiss two-seater (serial J-3201) followed on 07-03-78.
was given to airfreight the Northrop-built aircrafts to Switzerland
but delivery on board USAF Lockheed C-5A Galaxy was less expensive;
Tigers were accepted by the USAF at Palmdale's Northrop
tested, flown to McClellan AFB where they were disassembled and prepared for delivery.
first Tigers arrived at Emmen AB on 22-08-78, five single- and one
double seaters. Additional deliveries by Lockhed C-5A followed on
21-09-78 and on 18-10-78, completing the first
part of the contract; all were
on boad of a Douglas C-5A and took place at Emmen AB.
/ Photos: F+W Emmen
with tiger painted on nose; of note early training AIM-9B Sidewinder Clean View of the last first batch two-seate shortly before deliver to the Air Force in 1979
(nose sensor only active) on wingtip. This weapon was actually raely used by the Tiger. with non-standard white underbelly tank.
Arrival at Emmen AB of the first batch on 22-08-78 (four single- and two two-seaters) coincided with the official roll-out of the first locally assembled aircraft (serial J-3014), whose first flight took place on
29-08-78 from Emmen AB; local assembly had started in January 1978, J-3015 an J-3016 were noted on the same date being assembled. It needed approximately eight months for each frame to be
completed: the aircrafts reached the Air Force after having been handed-over to the BAMF which checked its status/operability and, if to its entire satisfaction, accepted and readied for operation. The
complete spare-parts stock, consisting of 150 tons of aircraft and ground equipment was delivered by October 1979. Radar and navigation simulators were also bought. Second delivery was at Emmen
missiles were used, initially in the form
of AIM-9B Sidewinders, followed by AIM-9E3 Sidewinders in 1974;
financing to upgrade these last to AIM-9P3 for sFr 75m was
granted on 18-09-78; newer
the AIM-9P-4 missiles were received beginning 1988 and later (1990 to 1995) modified to the P-5 versions.
A Tiger Instruction Group, formed by professional pilots, was established on 01-08-77 to ease the introduction of the fighter and to develop new tactics as as well to translate technical documentation in
training of four professional instructors and one Federal
Office for Military Airports (Bundesamt für
pilot started on 05-08-78 at Williams AFB with the
425th Squadron; of these,
the Swiss Air Force head instructor and one instructor pilot attended the Fighter Weapons Instructor course in November/December 1978. Air combat instructors were to follow years later.
Northrop F-5E was handed over to the Air Force on 10-10-78, one month
ahead of schedule; by the end of 1978 eight had been accepted (4 more
than scheduled) which had flown a total of
First landing at other Air Bases was at Sion on 02-11-78, followed by Payerne AB on 24-01-79.
pilots from Staffel 11 and four from Staffel 18 were the first ones
to be converted on the new fighter. Official first public appearance
was atr Zürich on 107-03-79, flying mock attacks by 7 single-
and 3 double-seaters.
Photo: © Swiss AF
Early version (no VHF antenna, black nose radome) Northrop F-5E J-3018 and J-3007 flying over the alps.
six two-seaters, plus 16 single-seaters had been delivered on
11-04-79; 1'000 flying hours had been flown by mid 1979, more than
2'000 hours by the end of the year. Official hand-over to the Air
was at Meirigen AB on 30-10-79.
three main peace-time bases (Payerne, Dübendorf, Meiringen) plus
Interlaken maintenance base were adapted to the Northrop F-5 and
conversion training of the first two professional Squadrons started
hand-over to the two combat ready units, Squadron 11 and 18, took
place at Meiringen AB on 30-10-79, 25 single- and 6 double-seaters
had been handed over to the Air Force by this day. By
31-10-80 there were respectively 51 and 6 in use; seventy-two pilots belonging to all four foreseen Squadrons had completed their technical conversion and air combat training for a total of each 60 exercises
in approximately 6'000 flying hours; twenty 100 hours checks had been undertaken on airframes. First militia pilots conversion was at Payerne AB on Northrop F-5F, simulator was not acailable. A Radar-
Training Cockpit (RATRA) was bought later, without any visuals or motion possibility.
last aircraft was accepted by the Air Force on 09-04-81, when a total
of approximately 10'000 hours had been already flown by the fleet. Complete
maintenance and equipment independence had already
been reached by March 1981.
Two Tiger equipped units were manned by pilots of the Surveillance Wing by 1981, one additional was in conversion in 1983; all three reached combat-ready status during March 1985.
Photo: Swiss AF
Northrop F-5F J-3203 with badges of Squadron 11 and 18 flying over the Swiss alps. This is one of Northrop F-5E J-3021 at Dübendorf AB on 27-08-80 with Squadron 11 badge, still without.
three known to have been decorated with two Squadrons badges. nose antenna modification and VHF radio.
Loss of the first Tiger (serial J-3013!) took place on 21-05-81 during an exercise involving 4 Northrop F-5E protecting 4 Hawker Hunter Mk.58 fighter-bombers, due to the collision with one of three Mirage IIIS
intercepting the formation.
SECOND BATCH ORDER, END OF PRODUCTION, MODIFICATIONS
The presence of three Squadrons equipped with very aged de Havilland Venoms dictated the urgent necessity to purchase additional Northrop fighters.
request for a second batch of 36 Northrop F-5E and 6 Northrop F-5F at
a cost of sFr 770 millions for two
Squadrons was approved by the parliament on
04-03-81. The price included munition, spare parts,
support equipment and training support. An offset programm for Swiss products for the value of around sFr 300m was foreseen. Only the first single-seater was to be built at Palmdale, all the remaining aircrafts
were to be assembled at the Swiss Federal Factory in Emmen; their flaps, elevators, ailerons and rudders, for a value of sFr 65m, were to be manufactured in Switzerland. The Palmdale built aircraft touched
Swiss soil in Emmen AB on 17-02-83, coming from Prestwick (UK).
An average of two airframes per month were subsequently assembled at Emmen. Modifications to the first batch included a "shark" nose, automatic slats and flaps plus a larger leading edge to improve stall and
handling characteristics, particularly useful in the mountains.
Last aircraft of each type received an under-nose special painting; on the left hand side J-3098 (Peace Alps II), right J-3212;. On top of the photo inscription ELDA ELM used for radiation measurements flights.
First batch Northrop F-5E J-3041 modified to the latest standard, seen at Turtmann AB on 15-04-02 crossing.
the town road to reach its caverns. another Swiss speciality! Clearly visible is the two-grey camouflage.
The same modifications were applied to aircrafts of the first batch (see here serial J-3062) starting from 1986 with a programme taken care by F+W Emmen. An VHF radio had already been added in 1982.
External changes are clearly visible on above four-ship formation. The nearest two aircrafts carry red painted Sidewinders and underbelly tanks to be better visible in order to avoid collisions during mock dog-
fightings. The ones in the back ground have normal, yellow paintedtraining missiles on the wingtips.
Tiger programm came to an end on 27-03-85, when the last
single-seater was handed-over to the Air Force. Fly-away price of an
single-seater of the second batch was sFr 13m, of a double-seater
sFr 15m. Between 1978 and 1979 several Lockheed C-130 landed in Emmen with aircraft kits. The Swiss factory needed an average of 8 months for the assemblage of an airframe.
Compensation programms were completed by mid 1987: total value for the first batch reached USD 209m between 1975 and 1981, total value for the second batch USD 272m by 1987.
One two-seater (serial J-3209) was leased to Emerson Electric to show off a new radar, the APG-69, at the Le Bourget airshow in June 1985. This radar was not adopted by Switzerland.
the same month a contract was awarded to Northrop for full scale
development and production of the Northrop AN/ALQ-171(V)
Self-Defence ECM system. Unfortunately this
did not come up to
expectation and was abandoned at the end of 1989. It was replaced in January 1993 by an order for Ericsson Erijammer Vista 5A/100 to equip four Northrop F-5E plus Pilatus PC-9s for training purposes only
delivery started in 1994.
specific Swiss Tiger modification was the adaptation of four Northrop
F-5E to tow for air-to-air shooting
the Saab MBV-2S dart target (formerly
used by Hawker Hunter Mk.58); first test flight took
place on 06-02-97, trials were completed by March 1997.
have been stored at mountain bases in caverns, here under Nothrop F5E
J-3041 being towed out of a well camouflaged one at Buochs AB on
Storage and aircrafts lifting in the cavern........... ........... and being towed out of the cavern.
Very clean over- and underwing view on an VHF radio and sharkmouth nose updated Northrop F-5E Tiger Photos: Wilen Reto/unknown
Final first batch Northrop J-3066 in an unusual configuration, 3 275 gallons tanks underwings/underfuselage over the alps
A civilian organisation, the Federal Office for Military Airports (Bundesamt für Militärflugplätze, from 01-01-96 Bundesamt für Betriebe der Luftwaffe) has been responsible for first and second level mainte-
nance of the Tigers. Additionally to Air Bases operations during peace-time maintenance was taken care during emergency time by an Aviation Company (Fliegerkompanie/Companie Aviation) at each
base. Main frames maintenance was situated at Interlaken AB; Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, together with General Electric J-85 engines, maintenance was undertaken at Buochs/Enetmoos .
Modification of the nose cone was started in 1982 by the Emmen factory: a grey, flat cone was inserted together with an VHF antenna.
First important check regarding the whole fleet was in 1997, due to lose a bolt discovered on one aircraft; the discovery of fatigue cracks in the wings and again of a defectuos bolt in 1997 brought a
serious crise: half of the fleet had to be grounded for some time. A new check of all aircrafts' elevator had to be undertaken end of 2000 under an USAF directive; this reduced fighter availability for
Third level maintenance was provided by the Emmen factory till it was transferred to the Interlaken branch of the same company on 01-01-96.
100th main check was completed on
(J-3066) received on this occasion a special decoration
the tail tha twas removed
on returning the aircraft to the Air Force.
AIR FORCE RESTRUCTURATION / OPERATION WINDING DOWN
General reduction of military expenses came with the end of Cold War, together with a wide ranging restructuration programm, beginning during 1995, completed in 2005.
Tiger fleet was scaled down from 101 to 85 active aircrafts in 1998,
16 were put in storage, while the last night flights were stopped
during the same year.
The last airframe overhauled at Interlaken AB left the base on 22-12-99, shortly before this base was closed to jet operations on 31-12-99. This aircraft received a special undernose painting to comme-
morate the two events.
F/A-18s re-equipped in 1998 and 1999
two Northrop F-5E Squadrons while a second
reduction round started on 31-12-03 with the disbandment of two
Squadrons and the withdrawal of
another 31 aircrafts (54 remaining in use). All forty-six redundant Northrop F-5E were put up for sale (an aircraft had been damaged and withdrawn from use earlier).
permanent Tiger bases (Dübendorf, Payerne, Meiringen,
Interlaken) were kept operational; some were closed (Mollis,
Turtmann, Interlaken), placed on a "sleeping" status
(Buochs) or kept for helicopter
Line-up at Meiringen AB in a typical Swiss alpine background.
A last upgrade in communication technology took place in 2000: Have Quick I radios were installed in the aircrafts to make them compatible with McConnell F-18s.
Twelve Northrop F-5F were kept for general services, electronic warfare and advanced pilot training - a new duty following retirement of the Swiss BAe Hawk on 13-12-04.
Badge of Turtmann AB' ground crew (Air Base Section 3, base maintenance/Aviation Company 8, aircrafts maintenance) painted on some Tiger's nose to remember the closure of
this base on 31-03-03.
Jet aircrafts operation out of Dübendorf AB (the first ever Swiss base) ended on 31-12-05, reducing operational bases to three. Five single- and four double-seaters based there were distributed among
other bases on 15-12-04.
The year 2009 saw the grounding of four double-seaters when they approached the need for major servicing: Pilatus PC-21 took over the advanced jet pilot training in mid 2008; four were to be flown
only up to the moment they needed main checks and maintained flying able with a minimum of servicing. The remaining four active ones were to be kept for Target Towing and Electronic Warfare and
militia pilots training.
The Tiger fleet reached the goal of 250'000 flight hours in January 2010.
At the end of November 2014 the Air Force had 42 Northrop F-5E and 12 Northrop F-5F on strength; of these 36 machines were operational. Eighteen aircrafts needed in-deep maintenance, which was
Wiithin the next 2 years in-deep maintenance was necessary on 2 single- and 8 double-seaters but they were only to be flown up to the end of their flying hours, while minimun maintenance was to keep
on them as a reserve in order to be again available in case of necessity.
RUAG Aviation and Space, former Eidgenössischen Flugzeugwerk Emmen (EFW)/S+F Aerospace
RUAG Aviation and Space was formed on 01-01-99, in the wawe of the restructurating as a holding company comprising the aircraft factory at Emmen plus additional aviation related factories responsible for
manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircrafts and instruments. The factory is still in charge to repair and maintain the Swiss F-5 fleet; it has signed a roaming agreement with Northrop
Grumman to provide additionally worldwide support, modification and upgrade programms to countries still flying the aircraft.
Signed a Memorandum of Interest on 15-10-02 for 16
Northrop F-5E, 8 to be modified as double-seaters; it modified later
its request wishing original Swiss double-seaters; this request was
these were not up for sale. A Swiss offer, in 2003, to transfer 2 F-5F and 14 single-seaters was not accepted.
Navy More luck had the sale of an initial
lot of 32 single-seaters from the first batch for a price of sFr 25m;
a contract was signed on 07-03-03. These were aircrafts in need of a
general overhaul having
flown between1'800 and 2'400 hours. They were to be modified according to US Navy wishes and restored to flying capability by Grumman Northrop before being transferred to US Navy and US Marines
sale was endangered for some time by the restrictions to arms exports
imposed by the Swiss government following US invasion of Iraq on
30-03-03; but these were cancelled in mid-April. The first aircraft
left Emmen on board of an US Navy Lockheed C-130T on 02-05-03. Only five were delivered in 2003 due to US Navy budgetary problems, seven followed in 2004.
Sixty General Electric J-85 engines were overhauled at Emmen by RUAG, while an additional 18 were sold as reserves.
Twelve additional single-seaters were optioned in small batches, bringing total costs to USD 50m; options were later all taken up bringing thr tptsl to 44 aircrafts bought.
Loading the first US Navy aircraft, serial J-3026 at Emmen on 02-05-03
five aircrafts had been delivered to the US Navy by April 2006; the
very last Tiger (serial J-3025) left
Emmen on 13-11-07, being airfreighted to Northrop-Grumman's facility
at St. Augustine, Florida, on a
US Navy C-130T.
Interestingly, three former Swiss aircrafts were modified to double-seater by Grumman Northrop.
Governement requested authorisation in 2018 to withdraw from use 27
of 53 remanining F-5s; purchase interest was shown by the US Navy,
though the aircraft had been out of service since some years and
had no flight-hours left. They had to be accordingly overhauled for further utilisation. Maintance/control costs for the stocked aircrafts in Switzerland was 600' 000 Swiss Francs each year.
Discussions for an additional sale of 22 Northrop F-5 started in July 2019 but were not concluded by January 2020.
Northrop F-5F J-3207 stored at Meiringen AB awaiting sale on 09-08-11. In the background an Northrop F-5E, also withdrawn from use.
sources reported in 2014 that 18 aircrafts were to be sold to the USA,
the contract to be finalised by the end of 2014;
A request to buy additional 22 ex-Swiss Tigers has been rejected in the 2020 Fiscal Year, discussions for additionl 22 aircrafts started in July 2019 but not concluded by January 2020, Value stated to be USD 40m and delivery expected by 2021. By mid-20 there were at least 10 Northrop F-5 2 Northrop F-5F, 8 F-5E) stored at Emmen AB
Both single- and double seater stocked at Dübendorf AB of the second batch (22 aircrafts) sold to US Navy
Not a sale but a lease was arranged in
mid-February 2004; 12 Northrop F-5E were leased for four years, with
an option for extension of a maximum of two years. The contract was
signed at the end of
April 2004 with the Swiss armament Agency "Armasuisse" to the approximate cost of Euro 14m per year. This included logistics for the Austrian main and reserve base (Graz-Thalerhof and Linz-Hörsching), docu-
mentation, armament, training of flight and maintenance crews as well as maintenance of the aircraft by RUAG at Emmen.
The first four aircrafts (serials J-3005/30/33/65) were trasferred from Emmen to Graz-Thalerhof on 07-07-04, officially accepted on 09-07-04; the last (serial J-3014) followed on 14-12-05.
All former Austrian Tigers were returned, starting on 30-06-08, ending on 24-07-08; ten are confirmed to have been returned to Swiss service.SEARCH FOR A SUCCESSOR
Northrop F-20 82-0062/N4416T was demonstrated unofficially to the Swiss military authorities at Emmen AB on 20-09-83 as a possible successor to the Tiger but did not arouse local interest.
thoughts for a replacement fighter were made at the beginning of the
2000's; an offer by Israel's IAI
to modernise the remaining Tigers in order to
keep them operational till 2020 at a
rather low cost
was not accepted.
Instead, fourth generation fighters were taken into consideration, starting a very controversial selection exercise/saga.
were requested for Saab JA-39 Gripen, Boeing F-18E/F,
Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon; these (with the exeption of the
Boeing F-18E/F) were tested in depth in Switzerland in 2008 but lack
finance postponed several times the definitive selection till 2012, meaning that the good, old Tiger remained in use (this without any in-depth upgrade!).
present Northrop F-5Es are used as "aggressors"
against McDonnell F/A-18s and
as targets for the Swiss Army anti-aircraft units as
well as for relieving the more modern
fighters from general air policing
duty during day-time.
the meantime Swiss Tiger pilots
been discontinued in 2007; some aircraft obtained the logo
shown here to commemorate the end of the last F-5
pilot school class ended mid 2008, being replaced on Piatus PC-21. No new militia pilots will be trained, some Hornet pilots wii be retrained on the Tiger.
a request to check feasibility to extend the life of Tigers
(approximately 30) for 15 to 20 years (up to 2031!) was issued by the
Swiss Defence ministry on 20-04-11, just in case the purchase
of a new fighter would be delayed.
On 30-11-11 the Swiss government announced it had decided to purchase 22 Saab J-39 Gripen as the Tiger successor, though this selection was highly contested.
by the Swiss parliament for
the purchase was given in automn 2013 but a referendum was set for
18-05-14 for the definitive approval of fundings by Swiss people.
Funds for the purchase of the
Saab Gripen were denied and by mid-June 2014 a new appraisal to keep the Tigers left in service for approximately another 10 years (with modifications) was requested by the Swiss parliament. This was
informed on 29-08-14 that the costs for upgrading Northrop F-5s would vary between 900m SFr (day only, minimal instrumental/night operations) and 1.2 billions (for full air defence equipment day/night
operations), both costs being const dered too expensive. Mid February 2022 was annouced that the Tigers should be retired between 2016 and 2018 and put on sale.
. Photo: Swiss AFThe official team "Patrouille Suisse" kees flying its demonstrations with Tigers, here near to the Matterhorn mountain
crack on an aircraft's supporting structure was found during a major
overhaul in 2014, followed by another aircraft in January 2015; the
Air Force ordered subsequently an inspection on the entire
completed in April 2014.
20-04-15 it was officially mentioned that 36 (out of 54)
Tigers were serviceable plus 16 where cracking had
been discovered; 6 would be repaired and returned to service while 9
single- and 1 double-
seater would not be reapared. Repaired are from 2016 F-5E J-3073, J-3082, J-3093, J-3094, J-3095 and Northrop J-3201. By August 2015 there were 11 in Patrouille Suisse colours acrobatic team
aircrafts, 11 grey Tigers and 4 double-seaters.
Another source metioned in January 2015 that only 36 aircrafts are operational, additional 18 are needed deep maintenance (not to be done). Only 22 single- and 4 double-seater were to be maintained
in use. Two Northrop F-5E and 8 F-5F were to have in-depth maintenance in 2016 and 2017 but only the remaining hours would be flown by the aircrafts, followed by a reduced maintenance to keep them
operational for emergency situations only. They will not be in normal/training Squadron use.
Six withdrawn from use Northrop F-5E and F-5F were parked in April 2015 in the open air at Emmen since months due to missing space availability in the hangars.
minister of defence proposed that the Air Force to buy a number of
Gripen C and D in 2016 but this was not realised. According to
statements in September 2015 a new evaluation for 22 (or more)
fighters had to take place; the Saab Gripen was withdawn from the competition by Saab and the EADS Rafale, the Lockheed Martin F-35 and the Boeingl F-18 were still on the list of a possible purchase, to
be selected in 2020.
Northrop F-5Es units have been disbanded by the end of 2017, two
being reformed following year to operate the remaining 22 single- and
4 double-seaters (service aircrafts) used to retain pilot
proficency, as ECM training aircrafts and as adersary for McDonnell F/A-18s, foreseen to last till at least 2025. The acquisition of 20 mm ammunition has been stopped due to budgetary problems; the fate
also for the Sidewinders AIMP-9J Sidewinder and that of 15 F-5s and 9 F-5Fs retired (mainly stored at Emmen) has still to be decided. Northrop F-5s used for Electronic Warfare instruction were withdrawn
AB (Base Ariénne 14/Air Base 14) was closed as an operational
base after the last militia refresher course ended on 25-01-17. It
still is used as a reserve basis, though originally planned to be
closed to all military jets.
The last shooting demonstration for the Tiger was held at the yearly Axalp show on 10-10-18, as the aircrafts will only be used as service (ancillary) aircrafts; but Northrop F-5E will be still there in form of
the Patrouille Suisse acrobatic demonstration unit.
End of 2021 there were 18 Northrop F-5 in use of which 10 were in Patrouille Swiss colours. For details of confirmed serials see Northrop F-5 and Northrop F-5F serials page.
On 01-08-19 the Tigers are foreseen to be kept in use till 2025; by February 2022 there are 20 single- and 5 two-seaters on strength.
A successor to both the Tiger and to the MxDonnell Douglas was selected in the form of the Boeing F-35 and a contract for 36 was provisionnally signed, to be confirmed by March 2023.