Successful take-off for Swiss Aircraft and Systems

The Swiss Aircraft and Systems Company in Emmen, near Lucerne, is making a successful take-off after changing at the beginning of the year from a state-owned company into a public limited enterprise.

This content was published on October 15, 1999 - 12:01

The Swiss Aircraft and Systems Company in Emmen, near Lucerne, is making a successful take-off after changing at the beginning of the year from a state-owned company into a public limited enterprise.

The company has just announced a series of contracts, after completing the final assembly of F/A-18 aircraft for the Swiss Air Force.

The government is still the company’s most valued customer -- accounting for 80 percent of turnover -- but private clients are becoming increasingly important.

Among the new contracts are final assembly of the Super Puma helicopter for the armed forces, a full-scale fatigue test for the F/A-18 worth SFr40 million ($27 million), assembly of components for the latest Airbus family aircraft, and further payload fairings (protection shields) for the space industry.

The company has also signed a contract with Finland’s defence forces to supply six Ranger unmanned air vehicles, known as drones, and support equipment.

The Ranger Consortium includes the Swiss Aircraft and Systems Company, Oerlikon Contraves Defence and Israel Aircraft Industries.

The drones can conduct a wide range of both military and civil missions. Military applications include reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and designation, artillery adjustment, damage assessment, electronic warfare and intelligence, and radio relay missions.

Its civil applications include border and coast guard patrol, surveillance and monitoring of floods, forest fires, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, detection and monitoring of nuclear radiation, law enforcement, earth and environmental surveys, and traffic control.

The Ranger air vehicle is a miniature fixed-wing lightweight aircraft remotely piloted from a ground control station. It is launched by a hydraulic catapult similar to that on an aircraft carrier.

The company has developed a launching system mounted compactly on an all-terrain vehicle and only two operators are needed to set it up.

To bring the drone successfully to the ground, the company has developed an instrument landing system which is not based on electronic signals but on a laser beam. The aircraft rides down on the beam before making an automatic landing.

The company says it is holding talks with a number of European countries, including Austria and Norway, on further possible contracts.

The Swiss Aircraft and Systems Company is part of RUAG Switzerland, the holding company of the four government armaments plants.

Written by SRI staff.

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