The Swiss air force has selected the Elbit Hermes 900 to replace its earlier-generation IAI Ranger UAVs. IAI also competed for the UAS 15 contract, which is worth about $280 million. The selection is subject to further government and parliamentary approvals.
Swiss Air Force
On February 17 the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 hijacked the aircraft single-handedly and flew to Geneva airport to seek political asylum. Although both Italian and French aircraft were scrambled to escort the 767, the fighters of the Swiss Air Force remained firmly on the ground. A Swiss air force spokesman confirmed that no interceptors were on alert at the time, as the air force operates to office hours only, or by special notification. However, the air force was keen to point out that it could have generated interceptor sorties given more warning.
Making its Paris debut in the static display is a Swiss air force Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma that has undergone the TH06 ISR upgrade by Ruag Aviation (Chalet A118, Static R). The Swiss company has designed and installed a major avionics overhaul that allows the Super Puma fleet to continue to provide service for many years to come.
Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) has named Ruag Aviation’s Alpnach helicopter facility in Switzerland an authorized customer service center (CSC) to support the Sikorsky S-76. “The Alpnach customer service center will be a key support facility for the future expansion of Sikorsky’s S-76 commercial aircraft fleet in southeast and south-central Europe,” said Frank DiPasquale, v-p of sales and strategic relationships for SAS.
For the upcoming European football championship, jointly hosted by Switzerland and Austria, the Zurich police department has decided to supplement its crowd control systems using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) supplied and operated by the Swiss air force as observation platforms. Light drones are cheaper to fly than manned aircraft and will free helicopters for other tasks such as carrying personnel.
Don’t be alarmed if you see some unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) going about their business in the skies over Switzerland. While authorities in the U.S. and the rest of Europe try to reconcile safety issues with a growing demand to allow UAVs to fly in civil airspace, Switzerland already has been proving the concept.
Swiss airframer Pilatus is riding high on a sustained wave of success of its PC-12 pressurized single-engine executive/utility aircraft. At the same time, it is pushing hard for a first order for its new PC-21 turboprop trainer.