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Army chief Süssli wants to apply for weapons purchases even without funding

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 3 February 2024

Swiss Army Chief Advocates for Early Weapon Procurement Amid Financial Constraints

Army chief Süssli wants to apply for weapons purchases even without funding

Despite the current financial crisis, army chief Thomas Süssli wants to order new weapons for the Swiss army. He is considering applying to parliament for commitment credits even if there are currently no funds available.

Süssli made the announcement in the pre-released Saturday show on Radio SRF.

This would make it possible “to get into the queue with a manufacturer earlier, but then still purchase later and pay later”, said Süssli. This is an idea. If this is feasible, armaments programs could still be set up. The capacities of the arms industry are often exhausted. There are long delivery times for arms deliveries.

Without these investments in the ground forces, the army would lose its army in the medium term, warned Süssli. However, due to its financial problems, the army would not be able to make any major additional payments for armaments until the 2030s.

Regarding the financial gap of CHF 1.4 billion over the next three years, Süssli said that this would also exist if Parliament had increased the funds for the army more quickly. “There would still have been a difference and we would have had to find a solution for this year too.”

The army is 800 million francs short this year. According to Süssli, with more money it would still have been 400 million – and there would also have been a gap next year.

According to the head of the armed forces, the Swiss Armed Forces had outstanding financial obligations of around CHF 13 billion at the end of 2022. Süssli and Defense Minister Viola Amherd told the Security Policy Committee of the Council of States (SIK-S) last Thursday that it would not be possible to settle these liabilities in full until 2028.

The reason for this is the Federal Council’s decision in January 2023 to delay the gradual increase in military spending to one percent of gross domestic product (GDP) until 2035 instead of 2030. Parliament approved this postponement in December.

©Keystone/SDA

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