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FFA P-16


Jet-Powered Fighter / Close-Air Support (CAS) Aircraft Prototype


Switzerland | 1955



"The FFA P-16 jet fighter prototype was the second major Swiss attempt at a local jet-powered combat aircraft during the Cold War - though ultimately just five were made."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the FFA P-16 Mk III Jet-Powered Fighter / Close-Air Support (CAS) Aircraft Prototype.
1 x Armstrong Siddeley ASSa.7 "Sapphire" turbojet engine developing 11,000lb of thrust.
Propulsion
696 mph
1,120 kph | 605 kts
Max Speed
45,932 ft
14,000 m | 9 miles
Service Ceiling
901 miles
1,450 km | 783 nm
Operational Range
12,800 ft/min
3,901 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the FFA P-16 Mk III Jet-Powered Fighter / Close-Air Support (CAS) Aircraft Prototype.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
47.0 ft
14.33 m
O/A Length
36.6 ft
(11.15 m)
O/A Width
14.0 ft
(4.27 m)
O/A Height
15,521 lb
(7,040 kg)
Empty Weight
25,827 lb
(11,715 kg)
MTOW
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the FFA P-16 Jet-Powered Fighter / Close-Air Support (CAS) Aircraft Prototype .
STANDARD, FIXED:
2 x 30mm Hispano-Suiza HS.825 cannons in nose assembly.
44 x 68mm SNEB aerial rockets in retractable ventral pack.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 5,700lb of external ordnance across four hardpoints (mainly conventional drop bombs).
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the FFA P-16 family line.
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


Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 01/28/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

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.

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Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the FFA P-16. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 5 Units

Contractor(s): Flug und Fahrzeugwerke Altenrhein AG (FFA) - Switzerland
National flag of Switzerland

[ Switzerland (cancelled) ]
1 / 1
Image of the FFA P-16
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The FFA P-16 Jet-Powered Fighter / Close-Air Support (CAS) Aircraft Prototype appears in the following collections:
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