Switzerland will destroy 60 operational Rapier air defense systems. They could well be transferred to Ukraine

Sofiia Telishevska

Switzerland will dispose of 60 operational Rapier anti-aircraft missile systems as the country decommissions them at the end of 2022.

The first batch of SAMs has already been destroyed, three more are on the way, NZZ reports.

These systems were purchased by the Swiss Army in the 1980s.

In 2007, the Swiss federal government upgraded them, and the army purchased 2,000 modern guided missiles. All of these are disposed of, although they could be used against low-flying targets, such as drones.

The disposal of the Rapier air defense system causes a stormy reaction among politicians.

"It is absurd that we are giving up defensive weapons," said François Pointe, a member of the Swiss National Council from the "Green Liberals", who supports the transfer of arms to Ukraine.

The publication notes that the transfer of Rapier to Ukraine would be legally possible in Switzerland.

The publication explains that Rapier is a British-made system. That is why completely different rules apply to rockets than to Swiss weapons. According to a 2006 decision by the Federal Council, decommissioned foreign systems must be sold to the country of origin as a priority, without conditions.

It is emphasized that this special regime for decommissioned foreign weapons extended to the sale of Leopard tanks to Germany. In 2010, Switzerland returned over 40 Leopards unconditionally. This is not considered re-export.

Switzerland has not sent a request to Britain about the possibility of returning the Rapier air defense system to it.

  • In the coming years, Switzerland will decommission many foreign weapons systems. For example, 248 M113 infantry fighting vehicles and more than 100 M109 artillery guns.