Switzerland has many Rapier air defense systems, but will trash them instead of giving to Ukraine – Technology Org

Switzerland is famous for many things, including, of course, its neutrality. It is a respectable position. It does not allow Switzerland to participate in a war unless it is attacked. Its territory cannot be used for military operations, it is not a NATO member, it does not provide military aid, and relies on its own strong military preparations to scare off any potential invaders. But there are drawbacks to Switzerland’s neutrality.

The Rapier anti-aircraft missile system in Swiss service.

The Rapier anti-aircraft missile system in Swiss service. Image credit: Nirazul (talk) via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0 de)

Imagine having a great set of tools. You can repair your car with them, you can become a handyman, and you can achieve quite a lot with a set like yours, but you have them just in case and never use them. Meanwhile, your neighbor has just lost his garage, all of his tools burnt down and now he is facing the problem of survival, because for him his tools were maintaining his livelihood. You say you cannot give your tools, because they are yours, even though you don’t use them. Then you buy new tools and discard the old ones, instead of giving them to your struggling neighbor.

This is literally what is happening in Switzerland now. The country is so entrenched in its neutrality that it is throwing away its British-made Rapier short-range air defense missile systems instead of giving them to Ukraine. Switzerland had up to 60 such systems and approximately 2,000 missiles for them in storage, but Ukraine has no hopes of getting them.

The decision was made in 2019 and not those systems and missiles are being disposed of. They became old and difficult to maintain, which is why they are not so useful for Switzerland anymore.

Switzerland has other defenses in place – this small country has more weapons than most would believe, because being neutral means that it has to rely on itself for self-defense, it cannot become a member of any alliance. And because of that neutrality, Switzerland couldn’t donate its old Rapier systems to Ukraine. Or could it?

Switzerland has laws in place that allow it to return weapons to the country that produced them. This 2006 law was when Switzerland returned the Pz 87 tanks to the German company Rheinmetall in 2010. And so it could have returned its Rapier anti-aircraft systems to the UK. However, this option was not used.

People are also wondering if it isn’t time for Switzerland to get rid of its neutrality. Switzerland has the oldest policy of military neutrality in the world, but it was only established by the Treaty of Paris in 1815. Yes, it was two centuries ago, but from the perspective of history, it is not some kind of ancient immovable law. In fact, a prediction that Switzerland will drop its neutrality someday feels very real.

Source: Defense-ua.com

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