‘A trip to Switzerland bagged some amazing passes from a whole variety of aircraft from the Swiss Air Force. Up in the mountains above Axalp is military firing area which hosts an annual open event for enthusiasts,’ Phillips says.
Held at Ebenfluh firing range near the summit of the 7,614 feet (2,321m) high Axalphorn mountain in central Switzerland, Swiss Air Force’s Axalp is not just an air show, it is an experience.
The program of the 2021 edition included strafing runs with F/A-18C/D Hornet fighter jets, a demo display of the Pilatus PC-21 trainer, a Special Forces operation, firefighting operations and demonstrations of the flight characteristics of the Cougar helicopter and F/A-18, a special guest in the form of the beautiful “Tiger” Hunter and the Patrouille Suisse.
Noteworthy the two-day exercise, which was due to take place also on Oct. 20/21, had been canceled on Thursday because of the bad weather at the Ebenfluh firing range.
The origins of Axalp Air Power Demonstration trace back to World War II (WWII) when, given the threat of a possible invasion of Switzerland by Nazi Germany, General Guisan proposed to retreat Swiss Military personnel and civilian population into the mountains. Because of this threat the Swiss Air Force needed the ability to attack enemy ground forces in the mountains.
To satisfy this requirement the Ebenfluh firing range, located above Axalp village in Brienz Canton Bern, was put into service.
Today Axalp Air Power Demonstration is the only event where civilians (regardless of nationality) can see an airshow at 7,614 feet above sea level and see fighter aircraft (specifically the Swiss Air Force F/A-18C/D Hornets and until 2018 F-5E Tiger IIs) firing live rounds.
Photo credit: Dafydd Phillips
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