Military aircraft procurement is now a highly controversial issue in Switzerland, but this was not always the case. It all started in 1964, when the cost of acquiring the Dassault Mirage III spiralled out of control
In 1956, Switzerland proudly claimed to have one of the world’s first air forces with an all-jet combat aircraft fleet. The speedy procurement of 350 licence-built Vampires and Venoms enabled 17 fighter squadrons to convert to the de Havilland types. However, the Korean War had already proved the superiority of swept-wing fighters over straight-wing designs, and the supersonic era was now a reality. Switzerland’s pipedreams of designing and producing indigenous machines such as the F+W N-20 and the FFA P-16 lingered in the minds of many. Replacing more than 300 jets with modern equipment was going to be costly.