Swiss Soldiers with 1st Mechanized Brigade, 18th Mechanized Battalion Carry Out A Live Fire Range During Training Exercise
The Swiss Armed Forces operates on land, in the air, and in international waters. Under the country’s militia system, professional soldiers constitute about 5 percent of the military and the rest are conscripts or volunteers aged 19 to 34 (in some cases up to 50). Because of Switzerland’s long history of neutrality, the armed forces do not take part in conflicts in other countries, but it does participate in international peacekeeping missions. Switzerland is part of the NATO Partnership for Peace programme.
The structure of the Swiss militia system stipulates that the soldiers keep their own personal equipment, including all personally assigned weapons, at home (until 2007 this also included ammunition). Compulsory military service applies to all male Swiss citizens, with women serving voluntarily. Males usually receive initial orders at the age of 18 for military conscription eligibility screening. About two-thirds of young Swiss men are found suitable for service, while alternative service exists for those found unsuitable. Annually, approximately 20,000 persons are trained in basic training for 18 weeks (23 weeks for special forces).
Video Credit: Bataillon mécanisé 18
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