Local news, 18.12.2023

From 20 November to 15 December 2023, military personnel from the Swiss Air Force conducted their annual comprehensive night and low-altitude flight training in the UK with up to ten F/A-18 fighter aircraft.

A Swiss Air Force F/A-18 fighter aircraft

At RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, pilots from Switzerland and the UK joined forces to train in air patrol duties at night and also improve their knowledge and skills in air defence after dark. Conflicts in recent decades have shown that tactical manoeuvres and operations are increasingly being carried out in darkness.

The "YORKNITE23" exercise offers the Swiss Air Force ideal training and environmental conditions. The training sectors are spacious and the short distance to the North Sea allows for realistic operations in all domains, which is not possible in Switzerland due to smaller training areas, limited flight operating times and density of civilian air traffic.

The Swiss Air Force is a valuable partner for the RAF: with around 40 pilots and 90 ground crew travelling to Leeming for the training, the joint exercises help to improve cooperation and interoperability, both between systems and personnel. The cooperation is made possible by a five-year agreement between the UK and Switzerland, which was extended in 2023.