The Pilatus P-3 was designed for primary and advanced training (including night flying, aerobatics and instrument flying). The military version was designated P-3-03. It was of all-metal construction with a retractable tricycle undercarriage and tandem seating. There was provision for underwing racks for light practice bombs or rockets and a machine gun in a pod below the port wing.
The first prototype was built in 1953 and flew on 3 September, the same year. The Swiss Air Force received 72 examples of this aircraft while the Brazilian Navy acquired six. The Swiss Air Force used the P-3 as a training aircraft until 1983, although it continued to be used as a liaison aircraft for another decade. In 1993–1995, 65 ex-Swiss Air Force aircraft were sold on the private market.
The company was established on 10 December 1939 by the armament company Oerlikon-Bührle, and construction of a new production building started in March 1940. The company was formed to do maintenance and repairs for the Swiss Air Force, the first work of the new company was assembly of EKW C-35 reconnaissance biplanes from spare parts, and overhaul work on other types