ZURICH (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 12th March, 2023) The Swiss military has begun deploying 60 operational UK Rapier anti-aircraft missile systems, Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported on Sunday.
Kai-Gunnar Sievert, a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Office for Defense Procurement, told the newspaper that the first of four Rapier series had already been dismantled.
“It is assumed that all systems will be dismantled and removed in these additional tranches,” Sievert was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Switzerland bought the Rapiers in the 1980s and began decommissioning them from the end of 2022, the report said.
According to a 2006 Swiss government decree, decommissioned foreign weapons should primarily be sold to the country of manufacture, which is the UK in the case of the Rapier.
Some Swiss lawmakers believe the Rapiers could have been handed over to Ukraine after their sale, the report said. More specifically, a Green Liberal Party lawmaker called the decision to write off the current defense weapon “absurd,” saying that the transfer of Rapiers to Ukraine would be legally possible.
On Friday, the Swiss government confirmed its intention to continue to adhere to the practice of banning the re-export of arms to countries involved in armed conflicts. Earlier in the week, a majority of deputies in the lower house of the Swiss parliament voted against the initiative. The upper house of parliament also rejected a similar proposal.