Swiss Air Force F-5E Tiger II Crashes Near Melchsee-Frutt, Pilot Ejects Safely

Swiss Air Force F-5E Tiger II Crashes Near Melchsee-Frutt, Pilot Ejects Safely
Image credits: Pat Hort

A Northrop F-5E Tiger II of the Swiss Air Force “Patrouille Suisse” crashed under unknown circumstances near Melchsee-Frutt, Obwalden. The pilot ejected safely and the aircraft was destroyed.

According to the details released by the Swiss MOD, the Tiger had taken off from Payerne Air Base, and was involved in an air-to-air training mission, flying as an adversary (“sparring partner”) for a Swiss Air Force F/A-18 Hornet, when the incident occurred.

The crash, whose causes are being investigated, happened in an uninhabited area among the mountains. Images from the crash site show an almost intact airframe painted in the color of the Patrouille Suisse, the Swiss Air Force demonstration team.

A bystander managed to take some photographs of the ejection and subsequent crash.

The plane was a Northrop F-5 Tiger model – one of two types of fighters currently operated by the Swiss air force, along with the Boeing F/A-18.

The Swiss army has 26 F-5 Tigers, purchased in 1978, and used now only for training purposes, in daylight and in clear weather conditions.

Last September, a slim majority of Swiss voters approved the granting of CHF6 billion ($6.7 billion) in credit to the Swiss air force to renew its ageing fleet by 2030. The procurement process, involving two American and two European manufacturers, is ongoing. The model chosen is to be announced before the end of next month.

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