“I am very satisfied with the relationship between our countries and armed forces. The UAE Armed Forces are contributing to stability in a vitally important region,” he told WAM in an interview and added that they are a very demanding customer concerning defence equipment.
“Thus, it is a particular honour for Switzerland that the UAE Air Force has chosen the Pilatus PC-21 training system; it is the same that we are using in Switzerland.” Furthermore, there are frequent visits at the level of Defence Minister, Chief of the Armed Forces or Commander of the Air Force. “We appreciate these contacts and are looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial cooperation,” he stressed.
On the size of Swiss participation in IDEX 2013, he informed Swiss participation in IDEX has increased from 18 exhibitors in 2012 to around 30 this year.
The Swiss defence market is very limited. Therefore, access to European and worldwide defence business is crucial for Swiss Industry. “The involvement of our industry in a global competitive environment is essential to maintain a high-level technological base in Switzerland. International exhibitions like IDEX provide a suitable platform to position our national industry.” Speaking on the potentials of defence co-operation between Switzerland, and the GCC states, Lt Gen Andre Blattmann said, “I have to stress that Switzerland is a small country, particularly when it comes to defence cooperation. However, considering these circumstances, I see the present situation as quite satisfactory and hope that the current level can be maintained.” He told that Swiss defence industry essentially consists of a few large companies. Due to the limited domestic defence market they are internationally positioned, mostly with high quality products and specialties.
In addition, Switzerland has got a broad base of SME’s supplying smaller systems, components or services. Most of them are Swiss owned and are operating in the civil or dual use sector as well.
The defence sector in Switzerland is dominated by traditionally strong industrial branches, such as machine industry, electronic and electro technical industry as well as metal industry.
Swiss Armed Forces chief, informed that in 2011 Swiss exports of war material reached to 874 million Swiss francs (the facts and figures for 2012 are not yet available, but should be published at the end of February).