Cabinet unveils new military spending

The Swiss cabinet has approved an arms procurement programme worth SFr1.18 billion for the year 2000, one of the lowest in 15 years. The main item is 186 Swedish-built CV-9030 tanks (pictured) for SFr990 million.

This content was published on March 29, 2000 - 12:21

The Swiss cabinet has approved an arms procurement programme worth SFr1.18 billion for the year 2000, one of the lowest in 15 years. The main item is 186 Swedish-built CV-9030 tanks (pictured) for SFr990 million.

The procurement package, which will need parliamentary approval, also includes 120 battlefield command cars, and some mine-clearing ploughs that can be fitted to armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

The CV-9030 personnel carriers made by Häggland have already been ordered by the Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish armies. In Switzerland, they will replace American-built M113 APCs, which on the battlefield cannot keep up with the Swiss army's Leopard 2 tanks, the mainstay of national defence.

The procurement programme for 2000 is the second smallest in fifteen years, and reflects the defence ministry's falling budget, as well as lack of clarity about equipment needs before sweeping reforms, dubbed Army 21, are finalised.

The 120 battlefield command cars will be built by Mowag in eastern Switzerland, and are based on the chassis of the widely-used American Hummer military vehicle.

The Swiss army will be using them as a fire-control vehicle, which can pinpoint targets up to seven kilometres away and pass data on directly to artillery or integrated fire control systems.

At the height of the Cold War, procurement budgets of up to SFr2 billion were not unusual. At just over SFr1 billion, the programme for 2000 should escape unscathed during its passage through the House of Representatives and Senate.

By Peter Haller

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