Cracks: Swiss retire ten Tigers

The Swiss Air Force is retiring ten out of 36 operational F-5 Tigers due to structural cracks found in the aicraft. As reported earlier here on, cracks where found last year in some Tigers. Inspections on all aircraft have now finished and problems were found on 16 in total. Six will be repaired, ten will be disposed of.

Repair costs for the six savable aircraft are estimated at 1 million Swiss francs, which roughly equals 1 million euro. Among these six are five aircraft used by aerial demonstration team Patrouille Suisse.

The Swiss will see their active F-5 Tiger fleet reduced from 36 to 26 by this decision, made possible by fleet optimization and leading to cost savings. Between 1978 and 1984, the Swiss Air Force ordered a total of 98 single-seat F-5E and 12 two-seat F-5F aircraft. A significant number was since sold the US Navy, which has been using the Tigers as aggressor aircraft. A total of 54 F-5 is still being kept in Switzerland, with some being stored.

Assessment of the Swiss fleet carried out together with RUAG and Armasuisse. Repairs are expected to last until the end of the first quarter of 2016. Patrouille Suisse will partly use regular F-5s until all of their red and white aircraft are repaired.

The decision confirms that the Swiss will use their F-5s also from 2016 on. Earlier reports indicated that all Tigers would be retired in that year, but parliament in Bern decided otherwise.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: No more happy landings for ten Swiss Tiger. (Image © Elmer van Hest)