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McDonnell Douglas F-4H Phantom - Fliegerstaffel 16, Swiss Air Force, 1970

 

The Swiss Air Force's search for a new fighter to replace the Vampire and supplement (and eventually replace) the Venom and Hunter was a three-year long study that led to the announcement in December 1960 that the Dassault Mirage IIIS was their preferred choice in what had eventually boiled down to a close-run battle against the excellent Saab 35H Draken. However, the Swiss Air Force then implemented so many expensive changes into the Swiss Mirage programme that they were eventually only able to procure about half as many as planned and at twice the unit cost.

 

By September 1965, even before a single Swiss-built Mirage IIIS had flown, the Swiss Air Force demanded an off the shelf purchase of a suitable fighter aircraft to offset the reduced size of the Mirage force and initiated a six-month contract study for a requirement of 40 aircraft and in early February 1966 they announced that a minimum change version of the McDonnell (later McDonnell Douglas) F-4D Phantom was the winner and that a slightly reduced order for 36 aircraft was to be placed. Desginated F-4H (Helvetia) the Phantoms entered service in April 1967 and were delivered to Fliegerstaffel 6 at Payerne and Fliegerstaffel 16 at Stans and served until 1999 when they were replaced by the Saab Gripen.

 

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I've always planned to do this one at some time or another and with Fabian Cancellara winning his third Paris-Roubaix today I felt the time was right!

Edited by Spinners
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