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02 Dec 15. Switzerland to strengthen air defence coverage. Switzerland is to introduce a beefed-up air policing capability that will run for the next five years, the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport (DDPS) announced on 1 December.
Two armed Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighters will be placed on 15-minute readiness to intercept unauthorised aircraft from January 2016 through to the end of 2020.
The mission, which is dubbed Project Air Police Service 24 (LP24), will be built up incrementally, with the two fighters being on standby from 0800 h local to 1800 for 50 weeks during 2016; during the same hours for all 52 weeks in 2017 and 2018; from 0600 to 2200 throughout 2019; and then on 24-hour standby in 2020.
According to the DDPS, the aircraft will be scrambled for “hot missions” to intercept aircraft violating Swiss airspace, and for “live missions” to perform spot checks of diplomatic aircraft overflying Switzerland. The aircraft will based at Payerne, in the west of the country, which is one of the homes of the F/A-18 and Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighter fleets, with Emmen and Meiringen also available.
As noted by the DDPS, the reinforced air policing mission will cost about CHF30 (USD29.3m) a year to run, which is largely taken up by increased personnel costs. The Swiss government did not disclose if the LP24 mission will continue after 2020. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Nov 15. Egypt seeks unspecified Russian weapons. The Russian defence ministry has reportedly said that Egypt intends to purchase a large quantity of weaponry from Russia. The type of weapons Egypt is seeking has not been specified.
According to Russia’s TASS news agency, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has sought to expedite the process and has “already given the necessary instructions” to the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation. Over the coming weeks, Russia will be preparing a response to Egypt’s request for a wide range of weapons and military equipment. Shoigu is quoted in the TASS report as saying both he and his Egyptian counterpart have agreed “to keep personal control” over the deal.
Meanwhile, Defence News has also reported that the two countries are close have held pre-contract negotiations for the delivery of Antey 2500 and Buk missile systems ordered by Egypt in 2014. (Source: MPI – Hawk Information)
25 Nov 15. Iran in talks for Russian weaponry. Iran is in talks with Russia for the purchase of Russian-made weaponry, according to a report by Russia’s Sputniks News service.
Vladimir Kozhin, the Presidential Aide for Military Technical Cooperation, told reporters that Iran is “interested in the entire range of our weaponry, because they have a large army, serious armed forces, but their military equipment has not been overhauled due to sanctions and all the events you know about.”
However, the report does not mention any details about the type of weaponry Iran is seeking.
Military ties between Iran and Russia have recently strengthened, most notably due to Iran’s nuclear deal with the P5+1 group – which made possible Iran’s purchase of Russian S-300 SAM systems – in addition to Moscow’s and Tehran’s support of the Assad regime in Syria. (Source: MPI – Hawk Information)
25 Nov 15. POLAND – New Defence Minister reconsiders missile and helicopter contracts. During a parliamentary defence commission aired on public TV, Poland’s new Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz – who took the post when the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party won October’s general election – has reportedly raised concerns about the previous government’s planned purchase of Raytheon’s Patriot missile system and Airbus’ Caracal helicopters. The missile purchase was valued at EUR5 bn (USD5.3 bn), while the helicopter purchase was valued at EUR3 bn.
Macierewicz is quoted as