The Swiss Armed Forces rely heavily on the small but dedicated Zielflugstaffel 12 for ground-to-air target practice. Patrick Dirksen and Frank Mink were invited to take a look behind the scenes and learn more about the daily operations of this unique Swiss Air Force squadron.
Zielflugstaffel 12 (ZflSt 12, Aerial Target Squadron 12) flies half a dozen specially equipped Pilatus PC-9s from Militärflugplatz Emmen in the central canton of Lucerne. Commander of the unit – which comes under the direct control of Flugplatzkommando 7 (Flpl Kdo 7, Airfield Command 7) Emmen – is Major Peter ‘Pesche’ Michel, who told AFM: “We’ve had only six PC-9 aircraft since 2017. We also lost the F-5 Tiger from our squadron as of January 1 last year.”