> our title:

Swiss Cabinet Approves UAV Purchase

> original title:

Federal Council Adopts Armaments Program 2015

(Source: Swiss Dept of Defence, Sports and Civil Protection; issued Feb 11, 2015)

The Federal Council has adopted the ministerial message on the acquisition of defence equipment for 2015 (Armament Program 2015) that was submitted to Parliament. Armaments Program 2015 calls for Parliament to approve financing of three projects for a total cost of 542 million Swiss francs.

These programs are intended to replace equipment whose continued operation is no longer sustainable, whether technologically or economically. The weapons in question take account of the development of the army.

The Federal Council intends, with these programs, to replace three systems that are soon coming to the end of their service life:

-- the "reconnaissance drone 15" will replace the "reconnaissance drone 95." The current system, which has been in service for twenty years, has the technological level of the 1980s

-- the "new-technology shooting simulator for assault rifle 90" will be used for teaching combat techniques under realistic conditions.

-- the "light all-terrain vehicle for technical systems," derived from the Mercedes-Benz G 300 CDI 4x4, is intended to replace the current Steyr-Daimler-Puch 230 GE vehicle that is reaching the end of its service life.

Proposed acquisitions

-- Reconnaissance drone 15 system: 250 million Swiss francs
The reconnaissance drone 15 system will be used to maintain tactical reconnaissance capabilities by providing situational awareness and reconnaissance of targets after the retirement of the reconnaissance drone 95 system currently in service.

The proposed acquisition includes six UAVs, including ground components, simulator and logistic support.

-- New technology shooting simulator for assault rifle 90: 21 million Swiss francs
Shooting simulators allow interactive training exercises, reproducing conditions similar to those prevailing in combat without having to fire live ammunition. A shooting simulator for assault rifle 90 was acquired in Armament Program 1993 and allowed significant optimization of combat training. Maintenance costs have become too high, however, as it is no longer possible to buy spare parts, so this model will be replaced by a new-technology simulator.

The acquisition includes 500 sets of 10 new technology firing simulators, including accessories and logistics.

-- Lightweight all-terrain vehicle for technical systems: 271 million Swiss francs
The acquisition of Mercedes-Benz G 300 CDI 4x4 combi cars for transport of persons and equipment began with Armament Program 2014. The vehicles used for technical systems (eg radio vehicles) currently in service, and based on the Steyr-Daimler-Puch 230 GE, also need to be replaced. The new lightweight all-terrain vehicle for technical systems will also be based on the Mercedes-Benz G 300.

The acquisition includes a total of 879 vehicles, including 679 utility transport variants and 200 five-door combi cars, as well as the integration of technical systems and logistic support.

-- Effects on employment for 5 years
Direct contract awards within Switzerland, and direct and indirect participation abroad, with commitments for offset transactions, will provide employment for 500 people, on average, for about 5 years (from November 2014).

(EDITOR’S NOTE: After a detailed evaluation, the Swiss army in June 2014 selected the Hermes 900 HFE unmanned vehicle manufactured by Israel’s Elbit Systems. The acquisition process is slated to take place between 2016 and 2019,when the first UAV is to be delivered. Service introduction is expected in 2020.)