The main reason the Swiss Air Force choose the F/A-18 Hornet after a thorough evaluation was the top performance of this aircraft. The Hornet has a very short reaction time from its alert position, very good aeroplane performance and flying characteristics and is able to accelerate extremely fast, reaching sonic speed within seconds. Its extremely good manoeuvrability in curvilinear flight is important in aerial combat in visual flight conditions and is proven to be of the best worldwide.
Its high performance radar allows the F/A-18 to detect and simultaneously engage multiple low flying targets with its long-range guided missiles, by day and night and under bad weather conditions. The Hornet is also well tested in electronic warfare. This aircraft, developed to operate from aircraft carriers, is very well suited for our mountainous regions and narrow valleys as well as our short runways.
From October 1996 on, the hornets left the assembly bays at Emmen. Delivery was completed by the end of 1999. Squadron 17 was the first front squadron to retrain to the Hornet from June 1997 on, followed in the spring of 1998 by Squadron 18. Last but not least, retraining was concluded by Dübendorf based Squadron 11, in 1999. These three squadrons are part of the Surveillance Wing (Ueberwachungsgeschwader).