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The Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe, Forces aériennes suisses, Forze Aeree Svizzere) is the air component of the Swiss Armed Forces. It was established on July 31, 1914 but did not become a separate service until 1936.
During World War II, it defended Swiss airspace against incursions by both Allied and Axis aircraft, shooting down aircraft from both sides of the conflict.[citation needed]
A report in the Swiss news magazine FACTS reveals that the Swiss Air Force only provides ready-to-take-off aircraft during office hours -- on working days. The air force staff declared that, due to financial limits, they are not operational all the time.The difficulty of defending Swiss airspace is illustrated by the small size of the country; the maximum extension of Switzerland is 348 km, a distance that can be flown in little over 20 minutes by commercial aircraft. Further, Switzerland's policy of neutrality means that they are unlikely to be deployed elsewhere.
Its primary front-line air-defence fleet consists of 33 F-18 Hornets (Squadrons: 11, 17, 18. 34 were originally bought, but one crashed) and 54 remaining F-5 Tiger IIs (110 were originally purchased). In 2010 the Swiss Air Force intends to begin the retirement of the F-5 in the three squadrons (Patrouille Suisse, 8th, 19th) that use it and hopes to acquire a New Warplane/Neues Kampfflugzeug (NFK) as replacement. As with the earlier F/A-18 procurement conducted in the late 1990s, this is expected to prove a politically fraught procurement due to Switzerland`s socialist, anti-army and green groups, which are all opposed to such purchases. The Patrouille Suisse will need to change to a new aircraft, either the F/A-18 Hornet or the new fighter. Although they are likely to acquire the new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, other 4.5 generation fighter planes such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and the Saab Gripen are being considered.
In 2011 the Swiss Air Force will also be retiring its venerable fleet of 60 Aérospatiale Alouette I, which will be replaced by Eurocopter EC-635s.
The national aerobatic demonstration team of Swiss Air Force is the Patrouille Suisse, which flies the F-5 Tiger II aircraft.The Swiss Air Force has nine air bases, the most important of these being Payerne, in western Switzerland. The others are the helicopter base at Alpnach, a dormant base at Buochs and several other bases at Bern, Dübendorf, Emmen, Meiringen, Sion and Locarno. However, the air force closed Mollis by January 2007, and Alpnach will be reduced in size.
* Blériot XI
* EKW Häfeli DH5
* EKW C35
* EKW C36
* Morane-Saulnier M.S.405
* Messerschmitt Bf 108
* Messerschmitt Bf 109
* Fieseler Storch
* P-51 Mustang
* T-6 Texan
* De Havilland Vampire
* De Havilland Venom
* Hawker Hunter
* Dassault Mirage I
* Northrop F-5E Tiger II
* Aérospatiale Alouette I
* Super Puma / Cougar
* BAe Hawk - Jet trainer
* Pilatus PC-6
* Pilatus PC-7
* Pilatus PC-9
* Boeing F/A-18C Hornet
Tags 747, 787, a380, air, airbus, aircraft, airplane, boeing, bomb, f-18, f-5, fighter, force, gripen, jet, mirage, plane, sky, swiss, usa, war

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