USAF and the Oerlikon 8cm rockets


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28 November 2006
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Sometime in the early 1950s the US Air Force evaluated the Swiss Oerlikon 8-cm unguided rockets. They were thought an efficient anti-tank weapon as they had very high velocity and accuracy.

The rockets were being tried on a few types of aircraft. They were tested on the F-86F Sabre as well as the H-21 helicopter. Reportedly four F-84Fs were modified to carry 24 of the rockets and sent to Korea under PROJECT SWATROCK code-name, where the rockets were being tested operationally*.

Below you'll find a drawing of the Oerlikon rocket and its installation underwing of a Swiss P-51. And excerpts from a report titled "Operational Suitability Test of the F-86F Airplane" (, unfortunately some of the pictures are of rather poor quality.

I would be interested in any further info on the USAF's testing of the Oerlikon rockets, esp. in any pictures showing American aircraft armed with the Swiss ordnance.

Best regards,

* As far as I know the trials of the Oerlikon rockets in Korea has been described by one of the pilots who took part in Project Swatrock, Jack Broughton in his book "Going Downtown. The War Against Hanoi and Washington".


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This is what I'va just found in the Flight magazine archives: a photo showing the Piasecki H-21 armed with four machine-guns and eight 80mm Oerlikon rockets. Sketches of similar rocket-rails may be found in the report that I mentioned previously, so apparently this was an American version of the Oerlikon launcher.

By the way, I've googled also that there is a Swiss book on the use of the Oerlikon rockets in Korea: Hans Hofman's "Schweizer Flugzeugraketen im Korea-Krieg" published by Buchverlag Major von Dach S.F. Trade GmbH (ISBN 978-3-905879-00-1). Hopefully a member of our forum knows the book and would send here some info from it.

Best regards,


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Here you've got a couple of photos of H-21 helicopter armed with the Oerlikon rockets during trials and pictures from an article on the Project Swatrock published (I believe) in the "Aircraft" magazine a few years ago.


EDIT: The article 'Project Swatrock' by Col Jack Broughton was published in the Aircraft magazine of October 2010.


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Here is a cut-out from "The Asheville Citizen" of 25 March 1952. Apparently there were plans to manufacture the 8-cm Oerlikon rockets in the US.


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