Military Aviation

AXALP AIR POWER DEMONSTRATION 2017: WHERE ALPS MEET THE SKY

This year edition of the event marked the 75th anniversary of the famed Axalp Air Power Demonstration

Taken on Oct. 11, 2017 the photos in this post show Swiss Air Force air assets in action during the annual Axalp Air Power Demonstration.

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.

Noteworthy Axalp 2017 (which took place on Oct. 11-12) marked the 75th anniversary of this famed event.

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.

After WWII, Vampire, Venom and Hunter jet aircraft practiced ground attack, which included the use of cannon and napalm bombs, at the firing range.

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 F-5E Tiger IIs) firing live rounds. Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft, Super Puma, Cougar and EC635 helicopters and Patrouille Suisse participate in the event as well.

Military liaison officers from Austria, China, France, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden and the U.S. were invited to attend this year edition of the airshow.

The following video (that is featured on our new YouTube channel) was taken during Axalp 2017 and gives you an idea of what this unique airshow looks like.

We’d like to send out a huge thanks to the Swiss Air Force that gave us the chance to experience a flight aboard one of their Super Puma helicopters to get to Ebenfluh firing range

                                                                                         Written with Gabriele Barison

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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