Swiss Air Force Centre: Tigers of the Alps

A Swiss Air Force Northrop F-5E Tiger II in Patrouille Suisse colours (the Swiss Air Force demonstration team) sits proudly on display at the entrance to the excellent Swiss Air Force Centre (Flieger Flab Museum) in Dübendorf near Zurich, plus another in standard military grey is on display in Hall 2 (get there early as there is much to see and limited operating hours most days!). These photos of this handy little fighter aircraft were taken during my visit to the museum in 2015.

Patrouille Suisse colours (the Swiss Air Force demonstration team) sits proudly on display at the entrance to the excellent Swiss Air Force Centre (Flieger Flab Museum)
A Patrouille Suisse F-5E Tiger II sits proudly on display at the entrance to the Swiss Air Force Centre (Flieger Flab Museum)
Swiss AF Northrop F-5E Dubendorf
Swiss Air Force Northrop F-5E Tiger II at the Swiss Air Force Centre
Swiss AF Northrop F-5E Dubendorf
The F-5E is a neat and budget friendly combat aircraft
Northrop F-5E Tiger II at the Swiss Air Force Centre (December 2015)
Northrop F-5E Tiger II at the Swiss Air Force Centre (December 2015)
Swiss AF Northrop F-5E Dubendorf
The F-5E is classed as a light jet fighter but is well armed with 2 x 20mm cannons in the nose and can carry an array of air to air and air to ground munitions
Swiss AF Northrop F-5E Dubendorf
Shark like with 2 x 20mm cannons in the nose

Ageing but cheaper to operate than modern fighters and highly suitable for operations in limited Swiss air space, the Swiss fleet of 22 Northrop F-5E Tiger II single seat fighters and 4 F-5F two seat training aircraft are expected to soldier on (98 F-5E and 12 F-5F were originally purchased with the first F-5F entering service in 1976 and the F-5E in 1978, with more of both types purchased in 1981). There are plans to retain 18 F-5E and 4 F-5F aircraft in operation into 2018 at least (the Patrouille Suisse will also continue to fly the F-5E), when a decision will be made on a replacement fighter to fill the void (the purchase of 22 Saab JAS 39 Gripen E fighters was rejected in a 2014 Swiss referendum).

Swiss Air Force Northrop F-5E Tiger II soars past the Swiss Alps
Northrop F-5E Tiger II soars past the Swiss Alps (Photo Source: Swiss Air Force)

From the Swiss Air Force website: “Despite the fact that, compared to modern fighter aircraft, their engagement possibilities in aerial combat might be limited, the Tiger aircraft serves well in area air-defence (up to approx. 6000 m elevation).”

Patrouille Suisse

Hunter Replacements - Patrouille Suisse Swiss Air Force Aerobatic team Northrop F-5E Tiger II and McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet multi-role fighters of Fliegerstaffel 17 Falcons at the Berlin Air Show 2010
Patrouille Suisse – Swiss Air Force Aerobatic team Northrop F-5E Tiger II and McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet multi-role fighters of Fliegerstaffel 17 Falcons at the Berlin Air Show 2010
Patrouille Suisse - Swiss Air Force Aerobatic team Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighters at the Berlin Air Show 2010
Patrouille Suisse – Swiss Air Force Aerobatic team Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighters at the Berlin Air Show 2010
Berlin Air Show 2010 Patrouille Suisse - Swiss Air Force Aerobatic team
It was a grey, wet summers day at the Berlin Air Show 2010 when I saw the Patrouille Suisse – Swiss Air Force Aerobatic team perform!

Tiger Aggressors

In 2002 the US Navy purchased 32 F-5E from Switzerland in a unique “reverse” Foreign Military Sale (FMS). They were to be used as aggressor aircraft and following an overhaul were in US service by 2008 redesignated as an F-5N (12 more were also purchased from the Swiss). Many of these aircraft continue to be operated today by the US Marine Corps VMFT-401 “Snipers” aggressor squadron in Yuma, Arizona and the US Navy VFC-111 “Sundowners” aggressor squadron in Key West, Florida.

F-5N USMC Yuma Airshow 2015
The F-5N is an affordable adversary fighter for the USMC. US Marine Corps VMFT-401 “Snipers” aggressor squadron F-5N’s at the Yuma Air Show 2015

Austrian Tigers

In 2004 the Austrian AF also leased 12 Swiss F-5E for 4 years as a stop-gap measure before receiving their Eurofighter Typhoon (the first was delivered in 2007). There still seems to be plenty of life in this plucky little fighter yet!

Austrian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon and Northrop F-5E Tiger II (the latter were leased from Switzerland until the Typhoon was fully operational - the first Typhoon was received in 2007)
Austrian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon and Northrop F-5E Tiger II (the latter were leased from Switzerland in 2004 for 4 years until the Typhoon was fully operational – the first Typhoon was received in 2007)
Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Swiss Air Force Centre: Tigers of the Alps

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s