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Swiss Air Force

The Swiss Air Force is the branch of the Swiss armed forces responsible for military operations in Switzerland’s airspace. Their missions include maintaining air sovereignty through air policing and air defence, carrying out aerial transport operations and gathering intelligence.

F/A-18D Hornet


Maintaining air sovereignty

To maintain air sovereignty, the Swiss Air Force carries out daily air policing activities, which include two forms of mission. In “live missions”, the Air Force checks that the flight routes of foreign government aircraft flying over Switzerland correspond with the diplomatic clearance they have been granted. “Hot missions” are carried out to assist civilian aircraft or in response to serious violations of air rules. The air policing capability is currently being expanded with the aim by 2020 of having two armed combat aircraft ready for operations round the clock, 365 days a year.

Air defence not only involves aircraft, it also involves ground-based air defence. The Swiss Air Force relies on a combination of three systems: the Stinger lightweight air defence missile system, 35-mm cannons and the Rapier mobile air defence missile system. For several years now, the air defence operations centre has had direct control capability over these systems.

Aerial transport

The main aerial transport mission is to airlift troops and equipment with helicopters in support of the Land Forces. The Air Force also carries out flights to assist other federal authorities and disaster relief operations. The Federal Air Transport Service carries members of the Swiss government and other senior officials in the federal administration. In addition, it transports Swiss military personnel and equipment to locations abroad and carries out survey flights for swisstopo, the Swiss Federal Office of Topography.

Air reconnaissance / air-based intelligence acquisition

The Swiss Air Force acquires and distributes intelligence for political and military authorities. UAVs (, helicopters ( and fixed-wing aircraft are equipped with sensors and can provide air reconnaissance services in all situations. This is an airborne component used to establish the situation picture and manage the deployment of forces on the ground. Services are provided day and night, 365 days a year, to the armed forces as well as to civilian authorities such as the border guard or the police. The air force also comprises a technical service tasked with creating, analysing and archiving aerial images (


In order to fulfil these missions, some 26,000 Swiss citizens carry out their compulsory military service in the Air Force as officers, NCOs and soldiers, and some 1,600 professional staff hold fulltime jobs in command and control, instruction, maintenance and administration, and in the professional aviator corps.

Badge Swiss Air Force

Swiss Air Force Papiermühlestrasse 20
CH-3003 Berne


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Swiss Air Force

Papiermühlestrasse 20
CH-3003 Berne