The first attempts to set up a Swiss air force were launched 100 years ago. It is a story of high-flying dreams and dramatic setbacks. The planned purchase of the Swedish Gripen fighter jet is just the latest chapter in the story.
It all began with a public fundraising campaign on the eve of the First World War. The first fighter aircraft were bought from neighbouring France and Germany in the 1930s. At the height of the Cold War era Switzerland built its own P-16 fighter jet, but plans for serial production were abandoned.
The Swiss Air Force includes American F-5 Tigers, F/A18 Hornet jets, helicopters, as well as trainer and transport aircraft and drones. (All pictures Keystone, unless otherwise stated)