Switzerland to Dispose of 60 Operational Rapier Air Defense Systems

Members of the British military’s Royal Artillery regiment are silhouetted as they stand near a Rapier air defence system during a media event ahead of a training exercise designed to test military procedures prior to the Olympic period in Blackheath, LondonInternationalIndiaAfricaZURICH (Sputnik) – The Swiss military began to dispose of 60 operational UK Rapier anti-aircraft missile systems, a Swiss newspaper reported on Sunday. Kai-Gunnar Sievert, a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Office for Defense Procurement, told the newspaper that the first out of four Rapier batches had already been dismantled. “It is assumed that all systems will be dismantled and disposed of in these further tranches,” Sievert was quoted as saying by the newspaper. Switzerland purchased Rapiers in the 1980s and has begun to decommission them since late 2022, the report said. According to the Swiss government’s decree of 2006, foreign weapons not in service should primarily be sold to the manufacturing country, which is the UK in the case of Rapier. Some Swiss lawmakers believe that Rapiers could have been handed over to Ukraine following their sale, the report said. In particular, a lawmaker of the Green Liberal Party called the decision to write off the current defensive weapons “absurd,” saying that the transfer of Rapiers to Ukraine would be legally possible. On Friday, the Swiss government reaffirmed its intention to continue to adhere to the practice of prohibiting the re-export of weapons to countries involved in armed conflicts. Earlier in the week, the majority of lawmakers in the lower house of the Swiss parliament voted against the initiative. The parliament’s upper house also rejected a similar proposal.


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