Riat12 Switzerland Patrouille Suisse Lindsay Peacock 2

Northrop F-5E Tiger II (x6)

The Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter began life as a privately funded light fighter project intended to produce a high performance, low cost and low maintenance light fighter with a secondary ground attack role. The type was first selected during 1956 as the US Air Force’s next advanced jet trainer to replace the T-33 and was designated the T-38 Talon. It wasn’t until 1962 was the F-5A ordered into production as a low-cost fighter aircraft for export by President Kennedy. The F-5A was operated by a number of nations and also license built in Canada and Spain. Whilst the F-5A saw very limited USAF service, however the much-improved F-5E Tiger II saw significant service and is still used today by the US Navy/Marine Corps as an aggressor combat trainer. The F-5E has also been an export success and can still be found in operational use in various modernised forms with Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Iran, Kenya, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia and Yemen.

In 1976, the Swiss Air Force acquired 66 F-5E and 6 F-5F Tiger IIs from the USA to bolster its air defence following the diversion of the Hawker Hunter to air to ground combat duties. These aircraft were manufactured in the US but assembled in Switzerland. At their peak, the Swiss Air Force operated a total of 110 Tiger IIs in the early 1980s. Largely replaced by the F-18C Hornet, 25 aircraft continue in service alongside the Hornet in the air defence role. A number of F-5s are also painted in the scheme of, and flown by, the Patrouille Suisse air display team. The Swiss have now ordered the F-35A Lightning II which will replace all the remaining F-5s in service. The future of the Patrouille Suisse is therefore uncertain and is currently only funded until 2025.

We are very pleased to announce that the Patrouille Suisse will be performing in the flying display at The Royal International Air Tattoo 2024 in what could possibly be their final ever UK appearance.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Peacock

On display

Role Friday Saturday Sunday
Flying No Yes Yes