Penalty for manufacturers
Delivery of Swiss reconnaissance drones delayed until 2024
The Swiss Army’s surveillance drones will not be delivered until the end of 2024. The Israeli manufacturer Elbit has to pay contractual penalties.
The delivery of the Swiss Army’s reconnaissance drones has been delayed until the end of 2024. (Archive image)
Armasuisse spokesman Kaj-Gunnar Sievert told Schweizer Radio SRF on Friday that the project would be completed by the end of 2024. Then the system will be fully operational. Due to the project delay, contractual penalties would be due. He did not provide any information on the amount of the contractual penalties. Additional services were also agreed with the manufacturer as part of contract negotiations.
According to Radio SRF, the expenses for the six ordered drones are now estimated at 300 million francs. In June there was still talk of CHF 250 million. Armasuisse justifies the additional costs with exchange rate fluctuations.
In the summer of 2022, one of these new army reconnaissance drones successfully completed its Swiss maiden flight in Emmen. At that time it was said that two reconnaissance drones should be handed over to the Air Force by the end of the year after further extensive tests and that the army would have six of these reconnaissance drone systems by the end of 2023.
Switzerland has not had any reconnaissance drones since 2019. The old Ranger aircraft were retired after 20 years. Originally, the new system should have been introduced gradually from 2019. One reason for the delays was that an army drone destined for Switzerland crashed in August 2020.
In addition to military use, the drones can also be used by civilian bodies – for example by cantonal management staffs, police and rescue services or the border guard corps.