EKW C-36

The EKW C-36 was a Swiss multi-purpose combat aircraft of the 1930s and 40s, built by the Eidgenoessische Konstruktionswerkstaette. It was a single-engined monoplane with a crew of two. It entered service in 1942, and despite being obsolete, remained in front line use until the early 1950s, and as a target tug until 1987.

EKW C-36
Class Aircraft
Type Attack
Manufacturer Eidgenoessische Konstruktionswerkstaette
Origin Switzerland
Country Name Origin Year
Switzerland 1939
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Switzerland 1942 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Eidgenoessische Konstruktionswerkstaette 175 View

In 1935, the Swiss Air Force developed a requirement for a replacement for Switzerland's Fokker C.V-E biplanes, which were used as reconnaissance aircraft, escort fighters and patrol aircraft. To meet this requirement, the Swiss Federal Constructions Works (EKW) proposed two designs, a modernised C.V, the EKW C-35 and an all new monoplane, the C-36.

Orders for 80 C-35s were placed in 1936, but no decision was made about whether to order the C-36, with preference being given to the purchase of foreign twin-engined aircraft for the role, attempts been made to buy Messerschmitt Bf 110s from Germany or Potez 63s from France. These attempts failed, however, and in 1938 approval was given for EKW to complete detailed design of the C-36 and to build a prototype.

The first prototype, the C-3601, carried out its maiden flight on 15 May 1939. It was a low-winged cantilever monoplane of all-metal construction. It was powered by a single licence-built Hispano-Suiza 12Y engine driving a three-bladed variable-pitch propeller. A crew of two sat in tandem under a long, continuous canopy. The aircraft was fitted with a twin tail, and had a fixed tailwheel undercarriage.

The C-3601 crashed on 20 August 1939 due to wing flutter, but a second prototype, the C-3602, which had a more powerful engine and a constant-speed propeller flew on 30 November that year. Testing was successful, and orders were placed in 1940 for an initial batch of 10 C-3603 with a retractable undercarriage.

The C-2603s, along with EKW D-3801's, fought off trespassing aircraft to defend Swiss neutrality, but were soon relegated to training and target-towing duties. The last variant of the C-36 aircraft family, the turboprop powered C-3605, had its maiden flight in 1968 remaining in service with the Swiss Air Force until 1988. Thanks to its Black and yellow striped colouration, the C-3605 was called "Flying Zebra Crossing". After retirement several aircraft were kept airworthy on the Civil aircraft register.

Role Ground-attack aircraft
National origin Switzerland
Manufacturer EKW
First flight 15 May 1939
Introduction 1942
Primary user Swiss Air Force
Number built 175
Variants F+W C-3605

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 10.23 m (33 ft 2? in)
  • Wingspan: 13.74 m (45 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 3.29 m (10 ft 9½ in)
  • Wing area: 28.4 m2 (305.7 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 2,315 kg (5,103 lb)
  • Gross weight: 4,085 kg (9,006 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Hispano-Suiza 12Y-51, 746 kW (1,000 hp) each


  • Maximum speed: 476 km/h (296 mph)
  • Range: 680 km (425 miles)
  • Endurance: 2 hours
  • Service ceiling: 8,700 m (28,550 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 10.4 m/s (2,050 ft/min)


  • 1× 20 mm cannon and 2× 7.5 mm machine guns fixed forward firing
  • 2× 7.5 mm machine guns in rear cockpit
  • 400 kg (880 lb) bombs

End notes