Swiss Fighter Jet and Pilot Missing

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Swiss Fighter Jet and Pilot Missing

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Swiss Fighter Jet and Pilot Missing

By Ofonime Essien

Swiss Fighter jet

F/A-18C of the Swiss Air Force taxis for takeoff

A Swiss F/A-18C fighter jet has gone missing, with no word from the pilot. The jet had been flying over the Susten Pass area when it disappeared, reported the Federal Department of Defence on Monday.

The single-seat aircraft had been participating in a training mission with another jet in a thick layer of clouds. Last contact with the missing pilot was at 16:05 Swiss time.

“We hope and pray,” said Swiss Air Force Commander Aldo Schellenberg when asked about the pilot’s chances of survival. At a media conference in Bern on Monday evening, Schellenberg said his thoughts were with the pilot and his family.

Read more: Human remains found at site of F-16 fighter jet crash in Arizona

Search measures are underway between Meiringen, canton Bern, and Andermatt, canton Uri, according to the Federal Department of Defence. Current weather conditions are preventing search efforts via helicopter, so the search and rescue parties are travelling on foot. Both the aircraft and the ejector seat are equipped with transmitters, which has helped to focus the search efforts.

After taking off from the Meiringen military airport at 16:01, the missing pilot had responded to a radio call as expected at 16:05. However, he failed to reply to a second call. He and the other F/A-18 Hornet pilot were practising manoeuvres for a potential fight with an F-5 Tiger aircraft.

Fighter jet accidents

Just last month, two Swiss air force jets intercepted an Israeli El Al airliner near Schaffhausen after an anonymous bomb threat. The Swiss Air Force is currently ramping up its coverage to protect Swiss air space. The goal is to provide 24/7 coverage with two armed jets by 2020.

Critics have questioned whether the recent increased demand is leading to more accidents. In June, an F5 fighter jet from Patrouille Suisse crashed in the Netherlands after two jets touched during a training flight there. The pilot was able to escape using the ejector seat.

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Last October, a two-seat F/A-18 crashed in France during a training flight, injuring the pilot. Over the past 20 years, there have been 12 accidents involving Swiss Air Force jets or helicopters, killing 21 people.

Current fighter jet fleet

The Swiss Air Force has 35 F/A-18s: 25 single-seater, and five double-seater. The original fleet had 34 jets. There are also 36 F-5-Tiger jets, but these are getting too old.

In May 2014, Swiss voters rejected the defence ministry’s $3.5 billion (CHF3.4 billion) order for 22 new Gripen fighter jets from Swedish defence company Saab AB.

Source: Swiss Info






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About Author

Ofonime Essien

Mr. Ofonime A. Essien, is a Helicopter Pilot. He is also a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA), Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), a Computer Forensics Expert, a Blogger, Web Master, a Writer and an Entrepreneur. He is an avid reader. He likes motivating others to achieve their dreams through writing and speaking.

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