Bern suspended the supply of surface-to-air systems to Kyiv

BERN, SWITZERLAND — As of now, Ukraine will not receive Aspide surface-to-air systems from Spain. Switzerland, as part of the co-production of the system, vetoed Spain and prohibited the delivery of Aspide. Bern, home to the tiny European country’s federal government and parliament, continues to toe the line of neutrality.

Spain sends retired Aspide SAMs Mach 4 and Leopard 2A4s to Ukraine
Photo: MBDA

Italy is the main manufacturer of the Aspide system. The Spada Aspide is the version of the surface-to-air missile system also known as the Skyguard Aspide. The Swiss company Oerlikon Contraves took an active part in the development of this system. This company is the manufacturer of the fire control system. The land and naval versions, however, use the Spada Aspide surface-to-air missile system.

According to the Swiss media, Bern considers the delivery of Aspide to Kyiv as an “inappropriate post-puck”. Thus, for the first time since February 24, 2022, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Switzerland has maintained relative neutrality regarding the supply of weapons systems. Bern focused on providing humanitarian aid during the war in Ukraine and supplying generators to the Ukrainian population.

Since the end of the war, Ukraine has repeatedly blamed Switzerland for its relative neutrality in the situation. For its part, Bern has been completely silent for almost a year now and does not respond to Kyiv’s accusations.

Aspide systems have four variants. They all use the Swiss company’s fire control systems. Spain wanted to supply Ukraine with the Aspide 2000. This is an improved version of the basic Aspide Mk.1 surface-to-air system. Madrid announced its intentions to supply Aspide 2000 to Ukraine late last year. In October, even part of the Ukrainian armed forces completed training on working with the system.

The Aspide 2000 has a range of 25 km and carries a 35 kg warhead. The speed of a missile launched from the surface-to-air system reaches a maximum speed of Mach 4. The missile has a wingspan of 80 cm. Aspide has been developed and produced since the mid-1970s and is constantly upgraded and modernized to this day.

Aspide’s rocket engine is powered by a Turkish engine manufactured by Roketsan. The thrust that the engine provides to the rocket is 50 kN, which is reached in nearly 4 seconds. The Roketsan engine weighs about 75-77 kg.

Aspire operators in the various versions are 19 countries around the world, among them, the name of China stands out, which bought the basic version in the mid-80s from Italy.

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