Swiss Tages Anzeiger newspaper informed, that the Swiss land forces are starting trials of reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs`). Tests will take place at the Schiessplatz Petit Hongrin military grounds in Vaud canton between 16th and 29th of April. The UAVs` under trials include Israeli Aeronautics Orbiter 2B and Polish Fly Eye by WB Group. (WB Group offset agreement, 2018-04-18)
In its 2017 report, the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, identified a need for additional reconnaissance data for small land forces units. Unlike the big unit divisions, the small ones don`t have access to large UAV/helicopter data.
The Swiss land forces have no experience with small, reconnaissance UAV`s so a few manufacturers of such systems were asked to provide a demonstration. Switzerland is planning to spend 8 million CHF (6,7 million EUR) on this equipment.
During April`s testing, similarly sized UAV`s will be tested. Fly Eye has a wingspan of 3,6 m and weights 11 kg while Orbiter 2B wingspan is 3 m with mass being 10,3 kg. Both are powered by electric motors and can be ready for deployment in 5 to 7 minutes.
In October 2015, the Swiss bough 6 of the Elbit Systems Hermes 900 HFE (Heavy Fuel Engine) reconnaissance UAVs` for 200 million CHF (167,5 million EUR). Purchased UAVs` replaced the Ruag Aerospace ADS-95 Ranger airships which were introduced in 1998. Twelve of these older units is currently utilized for reconnaissance, observation and ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) tasks.
Fifteen of Aérospatiale AS332 Super Puma (currently, Airbus Helicopter H215) complements the UAV fleet in the reconnaissance capability.