It’s hard not to compare Switzerland and Austria, as the two neighbors share common points. With comparable populations – 8.6 million for Switzerland, 8.9 for Austria – the two Alpine countries are neutral and are not part of NATO. But when it comes to aviation safety, the differences between the two states are striking.
To be convinced of this, just look at the size of their current fleets. Austria now has 15 training planes, the Saab 105 OE, used since 1970, and 15 Eurofighter of tranche 1, purchased in 2003. Switzerland today has twice the number of combat planes, while its territory is half the size of its neighbor. “The two countries have different ambitions: that of Switzerland is to do air defense, Austria says that its mission is air surveillance,” explains Michael Bauer, spokesman for the Austrian Ministry of Defense. This is linked to the fact that Austria considers that an attack from an enemy country, which would lead to a national defense on the ground as in the air, is very unlikely. We have never had the number of planes that allow airspace defense over a long period of time, we have always only followed the approach of aerial surveillance. ”