Display Teams : Patrouille Suisse
|Base||Emmen Air Base|
|Aircraft||6 x F-5E Tiger II|
Patrouille Suisse showcases the performance capacity, precision and operational readiness of the Swiss Air Force flying six F-5E Tiger II aircraft painted in red and white.
The Patrouille Suisse was founded on 22 August 1964. From 1959 the Air Force Surveillance Wing flying the Hawker Hunter Mk. 58 fighter had been training a double patrol, consisting of 2x2 aircraft, for display purposes. With a view to Expo 64, the national exhibition held in Lausanne, and the 50-year jubilee of the Swiss Air Force, formation flight training with the Hunter double patrol was stepped up. The team was named Patrouille Suisse. The then Federal Military Department was convinced that the formation flights would appeal to the public and decided to make the Patrouille Suisse the official national aerobatic team.
In 1965, the Patrouille Suisse had their first scheduled season with four air shows. In the following years, the programme was constantly improved and the precision of individual manoeuvres perfected. In 1970, a fifth Hawker Hunter was added to the team.
Due to Switzerland’s policy of neutrality, however, the team was not permitted to perform abroad at the time. This changed in 1978, when the Swiss aerobatic team was invited to the 25th anniversary of the Patrouille de France and was allowed to demonstrate its flying skills – now with six aircraft – over Salon-de-Provence, France.
For the 700-year anniversary of the Swiss Confederation in 1991 the Hunters of the team first appeared with a dedicated Patrouille Suisse livery, showing the Swiss national colours, red and white, on the lower sides of the wings.
The team was based at Dübendorf until 1992 when Emmen Air Base became the homebase of the Patrouille Suisse.
In 1994 the Patrouille Suisse flew the Hawker Hunter Mk. 58 for the last time, and in 1995, the team started flying the faster and more agile F-5E Tiger II, which had been operated by the Swiss Air Force since 1978 in the air defence role.
Since April 2007, a PC-6 Turbo Porter painted in the Patrouille Suisse colours has been used in support of the team. Named "Felix", the aircraft is flown by the commander to travel with the speaker and cameraman to training and display locations in Switzerland. The commander monitors the displays from the ground. The name "Felix" was the former callsign of the team's ground station monitoring the display.
In 2014, Patrouille Suisse celebrated its 50th anniversary and the Swiss Air Force its 100th anniversary, celebrations culminated in the AIR 14 air show at Payerne, which was held over two weekends and saw most European military display teams and many of the dedicated solo jet displays attend one or the other.
The Swiss Air Force has flown the F-5E/F Tiger II operationally since 1978. Besides the Patrouille Suisse, the Swiss F-5s were soon predominantly flown by reservist pilots with militia squadrons that operated alongside the professional military aviators corps that operated the Mirage III and then F/A-18C Hornet fighters. The F-5E inventory has been largely reduced in the 21st century in recognition of the type's limited contribution in the security of Swiss airspace, the PC-21 replacing the F-5F two-seaters in the training role, cutbacks and restructuring. The programme was launched for the partial replacement of the F-5E fleet by 2018. In 2014, the Swiss public in a national referendum rejected the proposed purchase of the Gripen, which had been selected.
The 2016 decision to maintain a reduced F-5 fleet for adversary training and target tug duties has meant the Patrouille Suisse also could continue to fly the Tiger for some years to come.
Training for the air show season starts in early January, with the first public display performed at the Lauberhorn Ski World Cup. The display schedule for the year is usually also published around that time. Every year, the Patrouille Suisse usually attends a few major European air shows abroad, military or large air shows in Switzerland, as well as major festivities and sporting events in the country. The team traditionally also performs its display on the occasion of the Swiss Air Force's live firing demonstrations at Axalp.
Switzerland is now looking at options for a new combat aircraft to replace the F/A-18 Hornet fleet and remaining F-5s with deliveries envisaged for 2025-2030. It is unlikely that the Patrouille Suisse will be able to re-equip with the new fighter jet.
Patrouille Suisse Photo Gallery
Patrouille Suisse 2016 : ILA 2016 Berlin Air Show © Helmut Richter
Patrouille Suisse 2014 : Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, UK © Jiun Yap
Patrouille Suisse 2007 © Ramon van Opdorp
Patrouille Suisse 2006 © Niels Hillebrand
Patrouille Suisse 2006 © Ramon van Opdorp
Patrouille Suisse Air Shows
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2023
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2022
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2021
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2020
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2019
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2018
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2017
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2016
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2015
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2014
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2013
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2012
- Patrouille Suisse air show schedule 2011