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.
Heute gegen 09:00 ist ein F-5 der Luftwaffe bei Melchsee-Frutt abgestürzt. Der Pilot blieb unverletzt.
Der Tiger F-5 war in Payerne gestartet und befand sich auf Trainingsflug als Sparringpartner für die F/A-18 der Luftwaffe. Militärjustiz untersucht zurzeit die Unfallursache. pic.twitter.com/UO1K0MEdkl
— VBS – DDPS (@vbs_ddps) May 26, 2021
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.
For my international mil-twitter audience:
Today a🇨🇭F-5E Tiger II crashed while on a training flight with an F/A-18 Hornet. The pilot was able to safely eject & the crash occurred away from any people and buildings.
Cause yet unclear but an eyewitness took these photos @20min. pic.twitter.com/22aaXXkh5b
— Oliver Hegglin (@HegglinOliver) May 26, 2021
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.