Swiss Hornets and Austrian Typhoons provide Davos World Economic Forum 2017 Air Cover

Swiss F-18 Hornets and Austrian Eurofighters provided Davos World Economic Forum 2017 Air Defense.

From Jan. 16 to 20, Swiss and Austrian Air Force jets contributed to the security of the WEF international conference at Davos, Switzerland.

This year’s Swiss Air Force MOB (Main Operating Base) was Sion airbase, in southwestern Switzerland, with Meiringen airfield being its alternate.

The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Fucito went to Sion and took the stunning photographs in this post.

The Hornet jets taking part in the air policing missions to enforce the NFZ (No Fly Zone) over Davos carried 2 live AIM-9X Sidewinders at the wingtips and either two live AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles) or one AIM-120 and the ATFLIR (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infra Red) pod, particularly useful to perform long-range visual IDs (as shown by the U.S. Navy in Syria…)

All the Hornets had the text “STBY 121.5” message on their 1,200 lt centerline external fuel tank: a message to any intercepted aircraft to switch their radio to the international VHF emergency frequency 121.5 MHz to get instructions from the interceptor and the air defense radar.

Although several F-5E Tigers from Fliegerstaffel 19 operated from Sion during WEF, unlike the past years, neither of these seemed to carry live AIM-9P Sidewinder IR-guided AAMs (Air-to-Air Missiles) at the wingtips meaning that they were either flying with their 20mm gun only or were not actively taking part in the air cover of the Davos conference.

Dealing with the Austrian Air Force, the Eurofighter Typhoons based at Zeltweg (and usually deployed to Innsbruck to fly air policing missions with a single IRIS-T missile and two fuel tanks), supported the WEF 2017 air cover as part of this year’s airspace security operation dubbed “Daedalus 17.”

Image credit: Alessandro Fucito



About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Odd, when I visited Switzerland, I don’t recall hearing that the Swiss and Austrian air forces were providing me with “air cover.” That’s particularly gauling when we realize that virtually all the recent acts of terrorism throughout Europe have targeted ordinary people not those are the sort who attend Davos. The latter are already benefiting from millions of dollars of added security. Why give them still more?

    That also offers a near-perfect illustration of what George Orwell meant when he wrote in Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” That’s why Davos-attenders seem untroubled by the thought of millions of poorly educated single young men, hostile to European culture, who are entering Europe from some of the most violent regions on earth. The wealth, power, and this unavailable-to-others level of protection that this Davos elite benefits from not only renders them immune from the consequencies, they can use the resulting social incohesion to their advantage.

    The Swiss and the Austrians should pull this air cover. Neither offers this special treatment it to ordinary Swiss and Austrians on vacation. They shouldn’t offer it to Davos attendees. The latter must be forced to accept a greater stake in maintaining social order. Removing that air cover is a good place to start. Spend what it costs to provide better protection to everyone.

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