In July 1952 the Flug- und Fahrzeugwerke A.G. (FFA) received a
development contract from the Swiss authorities for a single-seat
interceptor/strike fighter capable of operating from small, alpine
airfields. The first prototype P-16.04 made its maiden flight on
April 28, 1955 powered by a 7,900 lb (3583 kg) s.t. Armstrong Siddeley
Sapphire A.S.Sa.6 turbojet, but was completely destroyed in September 1955.
The second prototype first flew June 16, 1956 incorporating numerous
modifications like the wing thickness/chord ratio reduced from 5.5%
to 4%; wing fences at the trailing edge; and reshaped and relocated
air intakes. The wing carried extensive high-lift devices to suit the
aircraft for operations from short runways situated in high-altitude valleys.
The first of three pre-series aircraft P-16 Mk.II flew for the first
time April 15, 1957, this time the powerplant was an 11,000 lb (4,990
kg) s.t. Sapphire S.A.Sa.7 turbojet. The aircraft could be fitted with two
1.18 in (30 mm) Oerlikon 302RK cannons and various combinations of
Matra air-to-air, Oerlikon air-to-ground missiles, and bombs in the
In March 1958 a contract for 100 P-16 Mk.III was approved by the
Swiss Parliament, and two pre-series aircraft were converted to this
configuration, incorporating two 1.18 in (30 mm) Hispano-Suiza 825
cannons and a Matra 1000 launcher for 44 2.68 in (68 mm) rockets and
an external load of up to 4,940 lb (2,240 kg).
The first Mk.III flew on July 8, 1959 with the second following on
March 24, 1960, but the contract had been cancelled already and the
program was ended in June 1960.
However, the data and experience gathered from this project was not
all lost as much of it was used by William (Bill) P. Lear in the
Learjet twin-engine business aircraft.