An in-depth study of proposals submitted by various countries for the procurement of a system that will strengthen the Republic’s anti-aircraft umbrella was completed by the Ministry of Defence, according to information obtained by the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
Strengthening Cyprus’ anti-aircraft umbrella as soon as possible is high on the agenda of the Ministry and will be done through the acquisition of a defensive anti-missile system, capable of dealing with any threat that will enter the national airspace of Cyprus.
CNA has learned that the Ministry has evaluated the systems submitted in the proposals and is at the last stage of taking a final decision to purchase a system that, together with the existing weaponry systems of the National Guard, has a range to cover the entire island.
Moreover, the Ministry is in the process of evaluating tenders submitted for the acquisition of utility helicopters from European countries, to replace the existing Russian Mi-35. The National Guard is looking for helicopters that can fly 24/7, carry out troop transport, air assault and perform rescue operations.
At the same time, the arrival of the Exocet Block 3 anti-ship missile of French origin is imminent. Cyprus and France have already signed purchase contracts. The Exocet is a French-built anti-ship missile that can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
First Limassol Port will be upgraded followed by Larnaca Port. This will allow friendly countries visiting the island to dock their warships and avail of services for their crews.
In other related news, discussions on the military upgrade of Larnaca and Limassol ports are progressing, while the study to upgrade the Mari Naval base has almost been completed and will be presented to the President of the Republic for examination.
The aim of the Ministry of Defence is 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. This will allow friendly countries visiting the island to dock their warships and avail of services for their crews.
Bigger warships will be able to dock at Mari Naval Base, a relevant source told CNA, something that will serve both the geostrategic role and energy program of the Republic of Cyprus and strengthen defense diplomacy.
The Minister of Defence has also tabled a proposal to 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.