Swiss Air Force To Practice Highway Operations For The First Time In Three Decades

Swiss Air Force


Swiss Air Force
A Swiss Air Pressure F/A-18C at Meiringen (Picture credit score: David Cenciotti). Within the packing containers, the freeway section chosen for “Alpha One” train (SRF Information); an F-5 Tiger throughout an analogous train within the Nineties (Swiss Air Pressure)

The Swiss Air Pressure (SAF) will check the air protection system with landings and take-offs on a motorway as a part of train “Alpha One”.

In June 2024 the Swiss Air Pressure will follow touchdown and take-off operations on a motorway as a part of an train dubbed “Alpha One”. The purpose of the operation is to evaluate the flexibility of the Swiss fight plane to function in case airfields are unavailable or a decentralization of air protection is required.

In late Nineteen Fifties, the Swiss Parliament accredited the usage of a number of makeshift runways on motorways, on which fighter planes may take off and land. The motorways had been constructed precisely straight for 2 kilometer stretches and outfitted with simply detachable central boundaries. This motorway sections had been situated in Münsingen (BE), Oensingen (SO), Alpnach (OW), Lodrino (TI), Sion (VS), Flums (SG) and Payerne (VD). In the course of the workout routines, these places may turn into airfields in lower than six hours, and about two hours after the final airplane took off the motorway may very well be reopened.

De Havilland DH 112 Mk 4 Venom engine begin throughout an train in 1970 (Swiss Air Pressure)

The final train of this sort in Switzerland was on Nov. 14, 1991 on the A2 motorway close to Lodrino (Ticino). On that event, the freeway was closed for 36 hours to let two SAF jets land: a Hawker Hunter and a Northrop F-5 Tiger.

Hawker Hunters in 1985 (Swiss Air Pressure)
Swiss F-5 after touchdown on a freeway. (Swiss Air Pressure)

Checklist of Swiss Air Pressure (SAF) Workouts on highways:

Date Train identify Place Motorway Truppe Comment
16.09.1970 «U STRADA» Oensingen N1 Flpl Abt 9 Alpnach Air Base: 12 de Havilland Venom
26.09.1974 «U STRADA» Münsingen N6 Flpl Abt 12 & 13 Flugplatz Interlaken: de Havilland Venom, Meiringen Air Base: Hawker Hunter
28.09.1977 «U NOLA» Flums N13 Flpl Abt 9 Alpnach Air Base: Hawker Hunter
01.06.1978 «U NOSTA» Alpnach N8 Flpl Abt 9 Alpnach Air Base: Hawker Hunter
06.05.1980 «U ABEX» Aigle-Bex N9 Flpl Rgt 1 Raron, Turtmann and Sion Airport: 36 Hawker Hunter
24.03.1982 «U TAUTO» Münsingen N6 Flpl Rgt 2 Meiringen Air Base: Hawker Hunter, F-5 Tiger – Flugplatz Interlaken: Hawker Hunter
15.10.1985 «U TAUTO» Flums N13 Flpl Abt 8 Ambri Airport: Hawker Hunter – Alpnach Air Base: F-5 Tiger – Militärflugplatz Mollis: Hawker Hunter
29.09.1988 «U TUTTI» Alpnach N8 Flpl Abt 9 Alpnach Air Base: F-5 Tiger
16.11.1988 «U NOSTASIO» Sion N9 Flpl Abt 4 Sion Airport: begin of F-5 Tiger
14.11.1991 «U STRADA» Lodrino N2 Flpl Abt 8 Ambri Airport : Hawker Hunter, Alpnach Air Base : F-5 Tiger II, Mollis : Hawker Hunter
Flpl=Flugplatz (Airport) Abt=Abteilung (Dept) Rgt=Regiment Swiss motorways, along with the “A” numbering, have the “N” numbering which is used as we speak solely by the authorities to differentiate between nationwide roads and cantonal roads.

Later this yr, the SAF will resume such a workout routines and can do it close to Payerne Air Base, the place the freeway can also be linked to the air base via a taxiway.

The train will happen slightly farther from the bottom in the direction of Avenches, with the intention of testing the effectivity of the navy away from a ready construction.

As defined by the Commander of Swiss Air Pressure Peter “Pablo” Merz, the purpose of this train is to arrange crews and pilots to function decentralized from navy constructions. On this method, within the occasion of a battle, air protection protection will be assured even with out with the ability to use precise air bases, however with the ability to use constructions ready if essential.

A Swiss Hornet at Emmen (Picture credit score: Daniele Maiolo / Greatest Shot Plane)

At present, the Swiss Air Pressure has three principal air bases: Emmen (Lucerne), Payerne (Vaud) and Meiringen which retains its Fliegerstaffel 11 fighters inside Cavernes (underground hangar) within the mountains of canton of Bern, the one energetic base with such a setup in Switzerland (some previous air bases with Caverns are in a “dormant” state). Alongside these bases there are additionally three bases devoted to air transport: Dübendorf (Zurich), Locarno (Ticino) and Alpnach (Obwalden).

The runways of those air bases may very well be susceptible to long-distance assaults in case of battle, which is why pilots and crew have to be ready to function from non permanent and emergency airstrips.

Subsequent June, with “Alpha One”, landings and take-offs of the F/A-18 Hornet fighters of the Swiss Air Pressure are anticipated on A1 motorway between Avenches and Payerne, with the closure as soon as once more for a interval of 36 hours (additionally in order to not excessively injury civil visitors).

A Swiss F/A-18 taxies at Meiringen (Picture credit score: Daniele Maiolo / Greatest Shot Plane)

Freeway operations had been a part of the usual coaching actions carried out primarily in Central, Japanese and Northern Europe through the Chilly Warfare, when the chance of a Soviet assault on NATO air bases would make them unavailable in a matter of hours. With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, freeway take-offs and landings remained kind of a regular follow in Finland and Sweden however grew to become much less frequent in the remainder of Europe and the remainder of the world.

With the conflict in Ukraine and the growing tensions with Russia, many air forces are working towards once more for highway operations, together with the Polish Air Pressure, that launched the home ROUTE 604 exercise in October 2023; and the Royal Air Pressure, that deployed its Hurricane to Finland in September 2023, to leverage the present infrastructure and procedures the Finnish Air Pressure has in place and routinely exams with the F/A-18 Hornets.

Daniele Maiolo is a contract photographer/reporter primarily based in Switzerland.
Editor and photographer at Greatest Shot Plane, he’s a composite supplies specialist and aeronautical technician at an MRO Firm at Zurich airport.

David Cenciotti is a journalist primarily based in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and browse navy aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and lots of others, protecting aviation, protection, conflict, business, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Pressure, a non-public pilot and a graduate in Pc Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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