Between 2001 and 2003, after the successfull introduction of the Super Puma helicopter, an additional batch of 12 aircraft was bought. These helicopters were no longer AS332M ‘Super Puma’ but AS532UL ‘Cougar’ or ‘Transporthubschrauber 98’ as the official Swiss terminology reads. It will be used by Lufttransportstaffel 6, which previously operated the Super Puma.
The Patrouille Suisse was founded in 1964. It is the official jet aerobatic team of the Schweizer Luftwaffe and is known as the flagship of the Swiss Armed Forces in Switzerland and abroad. In 1978, the Patrouille Suisse performed abroad for the first time with its elegant Hunter aircraft. It has been flying the F-5E Tiger aircraft since 1995.
While other Air Forces like the Slovenian Air Force and Australian Air Force uses the Pilatus PC-9 as a trainer, the Schweizer Luftwaffe operates 11 of them as target tugs for gunnery training. This particular example is therefore decorated with the badge of Zielfliegerstaffel 12 on the nose.
The Schweizer Luftwaffe utilizes the Pilatus Porter PC-6 as a light transport category aircraft. Its robust design and short-field take-off and landing capability allow it to operate in nearly every region. Today the Porter serves mainly as a transport aircraft for personnel and equipment and is further utilized in scouting operations and in the dropping of parabats. The Porter also aids in combating forest fires with the aid of a built-in water tank. In the event of a war these Porters will be incorporated into a utility aircraft squadron.
Besides the Patrouille Suise, the Schweizer Luftwaffe has a second aerobatic team called ‘PC-7 Team’. The team was established in 1987 for the occasion of the air force championships in Dubendorf. Then nine planes Pilatus PC-7 make a demonstration, presenting the Schweizer Luftwaffe. But the official founding of the team is in 1989, during the 75-year anniversary of the Schweizer Luftwaffe. Then the team receives its name. In fact ‘PC-7 Team’ is not so active team like Patrouille Suisse, but nevertheless the team makes great impression of the public.
Joop de Groot
In 2006, the Swiss Government granted authorisation to purchase six Pilatus PC-21 turboprop trainers. They are delivered in 2007 and 2008 as part of JEPAS (Jetpiloten Ausbildungssystem), prior to commencing replacement of the F-5F in the fast jet pilot training role from 2010.
In April 2006, the Swiss Defence Procurement Agency (Armasuisse) ordered 18 EC635s for the Schweizer Luftwaffe, to replace the aging Aérospatiale Alouette III in performing transport and advanced training missions. The first two aircraft were built by Eurocopter, while the remaining 16 are built by RUAG Aerospace in Alpnach, Switzerland. Deliveries expected to be completed between March 2008 and December 2009.