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Alpnach Air Base

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Alpnach Air Base
Alpnach Air Base
Airport typeMilitary
OccupantsSwiss Air Force RUAG
Elevation AMSL1,460 ft / 445 m
Coordinates46°56′19″N 8°17′3.01″E / 46.93861°N 8.2841694°E / 46.93861; 8.2841694Coordinates: 46°56′19″N 8°17′3.01″E / 46.93861°N 8.2841694°E / 46.93861; 8.2841694
Location in Switzerland
Direction Length Surface
ft m
01/19 1,500

The Air Base Alpnach (ICAO code LSMA) is a Swiss Air Force airfield near the town Alpnach in Canton of Obwalden in Switzerland. It has a concrete runway with a length of 1,500 meters (4,900 ft) and a width of 40 meters (130 ft), as well as several taxiways and hangars.


As early as 1929 there was a landing strip at Alpnach. It was expanded in 1939 to 850 by 130 meters (2,790 ft × 430 ft). In 1940 two wooden hangars were added and in September 1942, Flying Section 7 was based at Alpnach. This is considered the official start of the airfield.[1]

The first concrete runway was built in 1943 between Eichistrasse and Lake Alpnach. It had a length of 875 meters (2,871 ft). Furthermore, eight type U-43 aircraft shelters and bunkers for command and ammunition were built.

As part of the Swiss Reduitstrategie in 1952 aircraft caverns were built into the rock of the adjacent Mueterschwanderberg Mountain. The former Mueterschwanderberg artillery fortress was also built into the mountain, but on the Nidwalden. In 1960, the cavern facility was officially handed over to the Directorate of Military airfields. Beginning in 1958, de Havilland DH-112 Venom jets operated from Alpnach. In 1973, they changed to the Hawker Hunter and in 1979 there was a further change to the F-5 "Tiger". Because of the Army XXI reforms, flight operations from the caverns were terminated.[2] On 20 January 1964, the Army helicopter base opened at Alpnach.

There have been several extensions of the runway: 1952 to 1,500 meters (4,900 ft), and finally in 1959 to 1,950 meters (6,400 ft).

The Highway A8 at Alpnach was built so that it could be used as a takeoff and landing runway and was associated with temporary taxiways with the cavern. However, only take-off were made for safety reasons, the landings were made on the normal runway.[3]

From 1947 to 1994, the 19th Squadron was stationed in Alpnach.[4]

In 1994 the last Swiss Armed Forces training courses took place at Alpnach, and on 23 September 1995 the last Tiger F-5E left. In 2004, Air Base Alpnach was threatened with the closure of the airfield, but the Obwalden government successfully lobbied for the airfield.[5][6]

In May 2012, began renovation work on Hangar 2 and 3 and the new building for the Hangar 4.[7]


Alpnach Air Base is the main logistical base of the helicopter of the Swiss Air Force. Standard helicopter types used at Air Base Alpnach are the Aérospatiale Super Puma,[8] Eurocopter AS532UL Cougar Mk1[9] and Eurocopter EC 635.[10]

Other uses

The RUAG Switzerland AG operates on the airfield a location for the maintenance of civil and military helicopter.[11] The airfield is used for various other uses. The runways may be used outside normal operating hours of the airport, for example by in-line skaters. A model airplane club uses the southern half of the airfield .[12]

See also


  1. ^ Aus der Geschichte des BAMF, Betrieb Alpnach (PDF; 4,2 MB) Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine Artikel in der Hauszeitung «info» des Bundesamts für Militärflugplätze (BAMF), Ausgabe Nr. 4/1995
  2. ^ Kavernen Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine Informationsseite auf,
  3. ^ Uno Zero Zero – Ein Jahrhundert Schweizer Luftwaffe. Aeropublications, Teufen/ZH 2013, ISBN 978-3-9524239-0-5, S. 230
  4. ^ Chronik der Fliegerstaffel 19, abgerufen am 30. April 2012
  5. ^ Obwalden hofft - Nidwalden rechnet Artikel der Neuen Obwaldner Zeitung vom 28. Juli 2004
  6. ^ Dossier Flugplatz Alpnach
  7. ^ Investitionen für 32 Millionen Franken geplant, Artikel der ONZ Obwalden und Nidwalden Zeitung vom 21. Juni 2011. Archiviert von der originalen Online-Version
  8. ^ FLIR / Super Puma Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Eurocopter AS532UL Cougar Mk1 Archived 2015-07-03 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Eurocopter EC635 Archived 2014-07-18 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ RUAG Alpnach Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Der Militärflugplatz Alpnach
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Alpnach Air Base
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