Swiss Air Force F-5E Tiger Aircraft Crashes In Central Switzerland. Pilot Successfully Ejects.

Swiss F-5 crash
File photo of J-3089 arriving at the 2016 Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, UK. (Image credit: Adrian Pingstone)

Impressive photographs showing the pilot ejecting from the Swiss Air Force F-5 before the crash have been published on social media.

A Northrop F-5E Tiger II jet of the Swiss Air Force crashed around 09.00AM LT on May 26, 2021, near Melchsee-Frutt, in central Switzerland. The pilot successfully ejected from the aircraft.

According to the details released by the Swiss MOD, the Tiger had taken off from Payerne Air Base, and was involved in an air-to-air training mission, flying as an adversary (“sparring partner”) for a Swiss Air Force F/A-18 Hornet, when the incident occurred.

The crash, whose causes are being investigated, happened in an uninhabited area among the mountains. Images from the crash site show an almost intact airframe painted in the color of the Patrouille Suisse, the Swiss Air Force demonstration team.

A bystander managed to take some photographs of the ejection and subsequent crash.

Some Swiss outlets reported the airframe involved in the incident as J-3089.

The Swiss Air Force is believed to operate 26 F-5 Tigers, purchased in 1978. In September 2020, with a really thin margin of just 9,000 votes, Swiss citizens have approved the multi-billion procurement of new fighter jets to replace both the F-5 and F/A-18 jets in service today.

The “Air 2030” program aimed to the selection of the future Swiss fighter included the evaluation of four candidate aircraft: the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale, and the Lockheed Martin F-35. A fifth candidate, Gripen E, was retired before its evaluation initially planned for the end of June 2019, after the Swiss procurement agency, “formally recommended” that Saab stayed home as flight tests had been designed to only evaluate aircraft that were operationally ready in 2019. The winner should be announced before the end of next month.

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.