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Under attack Report criticises handling of air defence project

Expert Kurt Grüter presenting the result of his investigation to the media

(Keystone)

An investigation into the planned acquisition of a new air defence system for the Swiss armed forces has revealed shortcomings in communication but has cleared the defence ministry, citing “political reasons”.

A series of indiscretions justified Defence Minister Guy Parmelin putting a sudden stop in March to the multibillion armament project, according to an expert report published on Thursday.

However, the report also noted that the project, launched in 2007 to replace the Rapier, Stinger and M Flab rockets, was carried out correctly.

Documents leaked to the media earlier this year alleged that two systems which had been shortlisted did not fulfil the necessary requirements.

Parmelin has argued he was not fully informed by the head of the Swiss air force on the project when he took over the defence portfolio from Ueli Maurer at the beginning of this year.

Parmelin on Thursday estimated the costs of the suspension at CHF19 million ($19.6 million).

Two parliamentary committees are also investigating the suspension of the evaluation. Another inquiry is underway by the military justice authorities.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch with agencies


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