Patrouille Suisse

The Patrouille Suisse (English: Swiss Patrol) is an aerobatic team of the Swiss Air Force flying six F-5E Tiger IIs. They are the only aerobatic team in western Europe to fly a current font-line fighter aircraft. The Patrouille Suisse, along with the PC-7 TEAM, are one of two Swiss Air Force aerobatic teams, and are well-known for their precise and polished display routine.

History

The Patrouille Suisse was founded in 1964, flying four Hawker Hunters. In 1968, the team flew two displays with the Mirage III under the name Patrouille Suisse Mirage, returning to the Hunter thereafter and increasing to five aircraft in 1970.

As a neutral country, the performances of the Patrouille Suisse were strictly limited to Switzerland to begin with, but the team made their international debut at Salon-du-Provence in France in 1978. Although initially using standard Swiss Air Force Hunters, the team’s jets were given a bespoke paint scheme in 1991 to mark the country’s 700th anniversary.

The team transitioned to the F-5E Tiger II for the 1995 season, adding a smoke system one year later. To mark the Swiss Air Force’s 100th anniversary in 2014, the Patrouille Suisse performed a combined 15-ship display with the PC-7 TEAM.

The team’s ageing F-5s were due for retirement in 2016, and it was initially planned the JAS-39E Gripen would replace the F-5 fleet and become the aircraft of the Patrouille Suisse. This plan was rejected in a national referendum and it was instead planned to disband the team in 2016. This was later abandoned, and it was planned that the team would switch from five F-5s to four F/A-18C Hornets. For the time being, the team are continuing to fly the F-5E.

Display

The first half of the Patrouille Suisse’s display consists of six-ship formation aerobatics. The two solo pilots then break off, and the remainder of the display alternates between four-ship and two-ship formation aerobatics. While not as sophisticated as many other aerobatic team routines, the team are notable for the precision with which they execute their display. The finale is a six-ship bomb burst, with all six aircraft firing flares.

Schedule (2020)

Date Show Location Country
May 2 Switzerland Arbon Classics Thurgau Switzerland
May 16-17 Germany ILA Berlin Berlin Germany
May 30 Croatia Croatian International Military Airshow Zadar Croatia
Jun 6 Switzerland Tour de Suisse Frauenfeld Switzerland
Jun 13-14 France Meeting de l’Air Cognac – Châteaubernard France
Jun 27 Switzerland CONEX 20 Emmen Switzerland
Jul 18-19 United Kingdom Royal International Air Tattoo Fairford UK
Aug 15 Switzerland Seenachtsfest Lachen Switzerland
Aug 29 Switzerland GUISAN 2020 Sasso San Gottardo Switzerland
Aug 29 Switzerland Eidg. Jubiläums-Schwingfest Appenzell Switzerland
Aug 30 Switzerland Dittinger Flugtage Dittinger Switzerland
Sep 5 Switzerland Oldtimerclassic Hittnau Switzerland
Sep 19-20 Italy 60° Anniversario Frecce Tricolori Rivolto Italy
Oct 13-14 Switzerland AXALP Live Firing Exercise Axalphorn Switzerland