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Bids in for Swiss air-defence programme, Rafael withdraws

26 March 2019
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A PAC-3 Patriot missile being fired. Source: Lockheed Martin

The Swiss government's defence procurement agency, Armasuisse, announced on 25 March that two of the three candidates for the country's Bodluv long-range ground-based air-defence programme, had submitted their bids.

Raytheon had submitted the PAC-3 Patriot and Eurosam the SAMP/T system, using the Aster 30 missile. Israel's Rafael, which had been offering the David's Sling surface-to-air missile, failed to submit a bid, and effectively withdrew from the competition.

With the bids now received, the Swiss government will begin a rigorous testing and evaluation process. According to Armasuisse, this will involve teams from the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport assessing the maintenance and training of the systems between May and July, with sensor systems to be tested between mid-August and September.

The Swiss government signed off on its capability requirements for the Bodluv programme on 23 March 2018. Under the requirements, the system "has to be capable, either independently or in co-operation with combat aircraft, of protecting at least 15,000 km² and, as a priority, engaging targets in the medium and upper airspace. The system shall be effective to altitudes beyond 12,000 m [vertical] and a distance beyond 50 km [horizontal]".

Ballistic missile defence capability was not a requirement under the programme. Logistically, where the cross-border flow of material could not be assured, sustainability of the system for at least six months had to be guaranteed.

Interoperability with neighbouring states in areas such as data and radio transmission, Identification, friend-or-foe (IFF), and precision navigation were not required. Switzerland's RUAG is also to ideally undertake maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) of the system. However, with the organisation about to be unbundled by the Swiss government, this is likely to be given to the new RUAG subsidiary MRO operation in Switzerland.

Offsets worth 100% of the procurement contract have been required: 60% to defence sector contracts and 40% to non-defence contracts.

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