Cyprus to bolster anti-aircraft umbrella

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The Defence Ministry has completed a study on weapon system procurement for the National Guard that will strengthen Cyprus’ anti-aircraft umbrella.

Strengthening Cyprus’ anti-aircraft umbrella is high on the ministry’s agenda, and one of the priorities is to complete it the soonest possible, sources told CNA.

The ministry has evaluated the systems submitted in the proposals.

It is at the stage of deciding to purchase a system that, together with the existing weapon systems of the National Guard, will cover the entire island.

Strengthening Cyprus’ anti-aircraft umbrella is done by acquiring a defensive anti-missile system capable of dealing with any threat that enters the national airspace.

According to information obtained by CNA, the ministry is evaluating the tenders submitted for the acquisition of utility helicopters from European countries to replace the existing Russian Mi-35.

In addition, the National Guard is looking for helicopters that can fly 24/7, carry out troop transport, air assault and perform rescue operations.

Procedures for the swift arrival of the Exocet Block 3 anti-ship missile of French origin are progressing.

Cyprus and France signed the relevant purchase contracts.

The Exocet is a French-built anti-ship missile whose various versions can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

Upgrading Ports

According to sources, procedures to military upgrade Larnaca and Limassol ports are progressing.

The study to upgrade the Mari Naval base has almost been completed and will be presented to the President for examination.

The Ministry of Defence aims for private investors to grant part of both ports to the National Guard for the sole purpose of docking warships.

First, Limassol Port will be upgraded, followed by Larnaca Port.

The purpose is to allow friendly countries visiting the island to dock their warships and provide crews services.

Bigger warships will be able to dock at Mari Naval Base, which will serve both the geostrategic role and energy programme of the Republic and strengthen defence diplomacy.

The Minister of Defence has also tabled a proposal at the Cabinet to send more students to the Hellenic Air Force Academy (Icarus School) in the next three years.

Currently, only nine students are sent annually to the academy. (source CNA)