Swiss newspaper NZZ reported Saturday that all-terrain vehicles being retrofitted by the Swiss army are inciting controversy for their cost, and their failure to meet national air quality standards.
Last year, the Swiss parliament approved an initiative by the army to refurbish 3,000 all-terrain vehicles, which were purchased in the 1990s for CHF230 million ($233 million). The vehicles are to be retrofitted with modern engines with particulate filters, at roughly three times their original cost.
The particulate filters are designed to remove soot from exhaust gases. However, the NZZ reports that even after refurbishment, the vehicles would not meet national air quality protection standards.
Swiss military vehicles are not subject to national air quality regulations, and the discrepancy has angered some Swiss parliamentarians, who according to the NZZ are now calling on Defence Minister Guy Parmelin to “pull the emergency brake” on the project.
Typical filters used in diesel vehicles in Switzerland remove about 99% of particulate matter.
But Armasuisse, the Federal Office for Defence Procurement, confirmed to the German-language newspaper on Saturday that the vehicles are being fitted with an “open” system that only retains 50-80% of particles at most.
Armasuisse told the NZZ in a statement that better-performing systems are not compatible with requirements specific to the Duro vehicles, such as the ability to run on low-quality fuel or to roll through water.
swissinfo.ch and agencies