FFA P-16

infobox Aircraft
name = FFA P-16
type = Fighter
manufacturer = FFA

caption = FFA P-16 composite on display at the Swiss Air Force Museum Dübendorf
designer = Dr. Hans Studer
first flight = 25 April 1955
introduced =
retired = Cancelled
status =
primary user =
more users =
produced =
number built = 5
unit cost =
developed from =
variants with their own articles =

The FFA P-16 was a Swiss prototype ground attack jet fighter designed in the 1950s to replace the piston-engined types then in service with the Swiss Air Force. It was Switzerland's second attempt to develop a domestically-designed and manufactured jet fighter, but the project was terminated before it could be introduced into service.

Design and development

The P-16 was designed to be especially well-suited to the close-support role, and short-field performance was also emphasized. The resulting aircraft was a single-seat, single-engine design with intakes on the fuselage sides and a low wing. The horizontal stabilizer was mounted half-way up the fin. To ensure good performance from unprepared fields, heavy undercarriage and dual wheels and tires were fitted. The wing was the most remarkable part of the design due to its high-lift devices; slats along the entire leading edge, large Fowler-type flaps along the trailing edge, and ailerons which also operated as flaps. These devices allowed the aircraft to take off and land within 1,000 ft (330 m).

Testing and evaluation

Two prototypes were ordered in 1952, the first one flying on 25 April 1955. Although this aircraft was destroyed in a crash only four months later (12.5 hours flight time), a development contract for four pre-production aircraft was awarded. On 15 August 1956, the second prototype exceeded the sound barrier for the first time.

The pre-production machines (designated Mk II) differed from the prototypes in a variety of ways, but most especially in the fitting of a more powerful Sapphire 7 engine, in place of the prototype's Sapphire 6.

When test flights proved promising, a new contract was awarded in 1958 for 100 aircraft. When the first pre-production machine was destroyed in another crash, the government cancelled the entire order and bought Hawker Hunters from the UK instead.

FFA continued the program at its own expense for a while, completing two more aircraft, but was unable to attract buyers. However, the wing design, with some improvements, was later adopted by Learjet. As of 2007, only a single example, assembled from parts of two of the prototypes, remains in existence. It is on display at the Swiss Air Force Museum at the Dübendorf airbase.


* Mk I - two prototypes with Sapphire 6 engine
* Mk II - pre-production machine with Sapphire 7 engine. Only one built out of an order of four before the project was cancelled.
* Mk III - two further examples built privately by FAA in an attempt to revive project

Proposed variants to be built by AFU

* AA-7 - SNECMA Atar 9C engine
* AJ-7 - General Electric J79 engine
* AR-7 - Rolls-Royce RB.168 engine

pecifications (Mk III)

General characteristics

* Crew: one pilot
* Length: 14.24 m (46 ft 11 in)
* Wingspan: 11.14 m (36 ft 7 in)
* Height: 4.26 m (14 ft 0 in)
* Wing area: 30 m² (323 ft²)
* Empty weight: 7,040 kg (15,520 lb)
* Maximum weight: 11,720 kg (25,840 lb)
* Powerplant: 1 × Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire ASSa.7 turbojet, 49 kN (11,000 lb) thrust


* Maximum speed: 1,115 km/h ( mph)
* Range: 1,400 km ( miles)
* Service ceiling: 14,500 m (47,600 ft)
* Rate of climb: 3,900 m/min (12,795 ft/min)


* 2 × 30 mm Hispano-Suiza HS 825 cannon in nose with 120 rpg
* 44 & times; 68 mm Matra FFAR in retractable launcher under fuselage
* Up to 2,590 kg (5,000 lb) of external stores on 4 pylons


* Green, William and Pollinger Gerald."Die Flugzeuge der Welt" (in German). Zürich, Switzerland: Werner Classen Verlag, 1960.
* Johnson, Robert Craig. Swiss Guards: the Federal Aircraft Factory N-20 and the FFA P-16. [http://worldatwar.net/chandelle/v2/v2n2/switzers.html Swiss Guards: the Federal Aircraft Factory N-20 and the FFA P-16] . "Chandelle 2" (2), 1997.
* Strehler, Hanspeter. "Das schweizer Düsenflugzeug P-16" (in German). Erschienen, Switzerland: 2004. ISBN 3-03-300051-7.
* Taylor, Michael J.H. "Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation". London: Studio Editions, 1989. p. 39, 383.

External links

* [http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/planes/q0143.shtml Origins of the Learjet]

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