The Swiss military decommissions operational Rapier air defense systems and destroys them instead of handing them over to Ukraine, reports the Swiss publication NZZ.
The Rapier is a short-range anti-aircraft missile and associated anti-aircraft missile complex developed by the British Aircraft Corporation in the mid-1960s. BAe Dynamics and then MBDA UK carried out support and renewal of complexes in the 1980s – 2000s. That is, it is a British weapon and nothing prevents Switzerland from sending it to Ukraine. But unfortunately, the first batch of Rapier has already been destroyed, the others are waiting to be destroyed.
And although it is not new weapons, but old ones, they may still be needed. For example, Great Britain used the Rapier to protect the skies during the London Olympics in 2012. Unfortunately, all of Great Britain’s own air defense systems were decommissioned and destroyed as early as 2021.
But those Rapiers still remained in Switzerland and, for example, Turkey, and can be used as local air defense systems against UAVs, cruise missiles and helicopters. Peter Schneider, former editor-in-chief of the Allgemeine Schweizerische Militaerzeitschrift (ASMZ), reports this. Especially since Switzerland modernized its Rapier only in 2007 and purchased 2,000 updated missiles for them.
In addition to the Rapier air defense system, Switzerland is going to decommission about 300 M113 armored personnel carriers and more than 100 M109 howitzers. This equipment would also not be useful for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
It is difficult not to agree with the comment of the managing director of the European Resilience Initiative Center, Serhii Sumlennyi: “The decision of the Swiss authorities to destroy decommissioned, but fully functional and not obsolete air defense systems instead of supplying/selling them to Ukraine is similar to the decision to destroy bread during hunger. This is far worse than simply coldness or a lack of compassion. This is cruelty.”
Rapier missiles technical specifications
Weight – 45 kg
Length – 2.235 m
Diameter – 0.133 m
Wingspan – 0.138 m
Engine – solid fuel
Warhead – blast fragmentation explosive close proximity warhead
Operational range – 400–8,200 m
Flight ceiling – 3000 m (Mk1), 5000 m (Mk2)
Maximum speed – Mach 3, or 3700 km/h
Guidance system – a semi-automatic command to line of sight
Launch platform – vehicle or trailer