At the end of the 1950's, the Swiss AF was looking for a possible replacement for the obsolescent de Havilland Vampires in the interceptor role.


Several aircraft, as the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, Chance-Vought

F-8 Crusader, Lockeed F-104 Starfighter, Grumman F-11-F-1 Tiger and even the FIAT G-91  were assessed and in some cases flight tested, in Switzerland and abroad.


Dassault proposed their Mirage III, and SAAB a modified version of the J 35 Draken, the model J 35H ("H" for "Helvetia").


The J 35H was to be fitted with a Ferranti AI.23 AIRPASS airborne interception radar system, as used in the English Electric Lightning.


Between 1957 and 1960 the preproduction test aircraft 35-4 (the fourth aircraft built) and a J 35A (serial no. 35011 - the test aircraft for the 35H) were flown to Switzerland to be assessed.


The flights took place mainly in Emmen and Meiringen AFB; aircraft 35-4 also attended the 1958 Basel Air Show in September. Test pilot Ceylon Utterborn performed many of those flights, here photographed wearing an early issue of the FFV-111 (Flyghjälm) Helmet. 

The ground and flying tests performed with the J 35 went well, but the winner of the evaluation was the Dassault Mirage III.


Our gallery shows a more recent FFV 111 version, fitted with a Swedish manufactured MS22001 (Syrgasmask) oxygen mask.