Alouette III - scrapped after 46 years

Swiss Air Force Alouette III during a mountain rescue demonstration / © Philip Stevens

Swiss Air Force Alouette III during a mountain rescue demonstration / © Philip Stevens

Posted By Philip Stevens

After 46 years and well over 300,000 flight hours, Friday, December 10, 2010 the Swiss Air Force has used for the last time the helicopters of the type Sud Aviation Alouette III.

A flight in formation over the airfield Alpnach military marked the end of an era for the fleet that included 84 Alouette III helicopters of the type. The first nine helicopters of the type SE-3160 Alouette III manufactured by Sud Aviation in Marignane (France) came into possession of the Swiss in 1964.

Very soon they were able able to demonstrate its quality through the wide range of uses and its handling on mountain areas. So in 1966 they were purchased 15 more aircraft of the same type. In 1972, then followed by a next tranche of 60 helicopters, manufactured in part under license from the Federal aircraft factory in Emmen. Overall, the Swiss Air Force has 84 Alouette III.

Helicopters are used in various tasks in addition to Transport people and cargo, were also flying rescue, fire fighting and aid in disaster relief in individual cases even abroad. The helicopter has been of great importance in the training of pilots.

Today, Friday, December 10, 2010, in a small ceremony held at the aerodrome of Alpnach, during this ceremony was performed the last flight training helicopter Alouette III Swiss. The remaining aircraft will be delivered to the National Disaster Management Authority in Pakistan, where they will be used in the management of natural disasters.

The Swiss Air Force replaced the Alouette III Eurocopter EC635 Helicopters with 20 of the type purchased as part of the weapons program in 2005.

Source: Swiss Air Force HQ, Bern

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