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FFA P-16

Switzerland (1955)
Picture of FFA P-16 Jet-Powered Fighter / Close Air Support (CAS) Platform Prototype

The FFA P-16 jet fighter prototype was the second major Swiss attempt at a local jet-powered combat platform seen during the Cold War.


Detailing the development and operational history of the FFA P-16 Jet-Powered Fighter / Close Air Support (CAS) Platform Prototype.  Entry last updated on 4/18/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Switzerland tried its hand at jet-powered fighter design during the Cold War years (1947-1991) resulting in what became known as the FFA "P-16". This aircraft followed the earlier EFW N-20 "Stinger" initiative - the country's first attempt - which netted the program nothing more than one completed prototype and an unpowered glider. Like the N-20 before it, the P.16 was an indigenous attempt at providing a local solution to a local problem - delivering a frontline combat jet to the Swiss Air Force to help usher out the aging and outmoded line of prop-driven fighters.

Due to the nature of the perceived war Switzerland would be fighting if ever invaded, an emphasis of the P-16 was for short-field operation with an inherently strong ground attack / Close Air Support (CAS) capability. By and large, the resulting aircraft was quite conventional for the post-World War 2 period: it seated a single pilot aft of a short nosecone, featured low-mounted straight wing mainplanes, wingtip fuel tanks, and was powered by a turbojet engine. The horizontal planes were held midway along the single vertical fin at the aircraft's rear. A split air intake configuration was used, half-moon openings seated to either side of the cockpit, to aspirate the single engine within the body of the aircraft. The tricycle undercarriage, reinforced for the rigors of unprepared landing strips, was wholly retractable and made up of a double-tired nose leg and double-tired main legs.

Proposed armament was 2 x 30mm Hispano-Suiza HS>825 cannons mounted in the nose with each gun afforded 120 projectiles. Each wing was given two hardpoints to carry a collective 5,700lb of ordnance in the form of conventional drop bombs. Additionally, a Matra 1000 retractable tray was installed under the forward fuselage which held 44 x 68mm SNEB rockets. Wingtip tanks offered increased operational ranges from the thirsty turbojet installation.
Production-quality aircraft in the series were to be powered by the British Armstrong Siddeley ASSa.7 "Sapphire" turbojet engine which outputted 11,000lb of thrust. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 695 miles per hour, a range out to 900 miles and a service ceiling of 46,000 feet. Rate-of-climb reached 12,800 feet-per-minute. By definition, the P-16 was a "transonic" aircraft - neither subsonic nor supersonic.

A first-flight of a prototype (with ASSa.6 engine of 7,900lb thrust installed) designated "Mk I" was recorded on April 25th, 1955. However, this article was later destroyed in a crash. Two aircraft were completed to the Mk I prototype standard and followed by four planned pre-series aircraft designated "Mk II". The first of these flew with the ASSa.7 engine in place on April 15th, 1957. Only one of the four-strong lot was completed but two were reconstituted as "Mk III" entries fitted with the full armament suite. One of these was flown for the first time on July 8th, 1959 and the other followed into the skies on March 24th, 1960 - by this time the program was all but over.

Back in March of 1958, the Swiss Parliament had approved a procurement order of 100 aircraft built to the Mk III standard. The crash of a pre-production aircraft did little to inspire hope in the expensive local program and it was terminated by the government, the Swiss Air Force forced to buy British Hawker Hunter jets in their place. Some additional work on the part of FAA continued on their P-16 design in the continued hopes of still bringing the product to fruition but this resulted in just the two aforementioned completed Mk III aircraft.

Such ended the second Swiss attempt at a combat jet fighter.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (696mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the FFA P-16 Mk III's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
5
5


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: Switzerland
Year: 1955
Type: Jet-Powered Fighter / Close Air Support (CAS) Platform Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Flug und Fahrzeugwerke Altenrhein AG (FFA) - Switzerland
Production: 5
Global Operators:
Switzerland (cancelled)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the FFA P-16 Mk III model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
47.01 ft


Meters
14.33 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
36.58 ft


Meters
11.15 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
14.01 ft


Meters
4.27 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
15,521 lb


Kilograms
7,040 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
25,827 lb


Kilograms
11,715 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Armstrong Siddeley ASSa.7 Sapphire turbojet engine developing 11,000lb of thrust.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
696 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
1,120 kph


Knots
605 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
901 mi


Kilometers
1,450 km


Nautical Miles
783 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
45,932 ft


Meters
14,000 m


Miles
8.70 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
12,800 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
3,901 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

STANDARD, FIXED:
2 x 30mm Hispano-Suiza HS.825 cannons in nose
44 x 68mm SNEB aerial rockets in retractable ventral pack.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 5,700lb of external ordnance across four hardpoints.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• FFA P-16 - Base Series Designation
• Mk I - Prototype model fitted with Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire ASSa 6 engine of 7,900lb thrust; 2 examples completed.
• Mk II - Pre-production model with Sapphire ASSa 7 engine of 11,000lb thrust output; 1 example completed.
• MK III - Armament fitted to Mk II forms; 2 examples