The US Asked Nicely, Rafael Dropped Out of Switzerland’s Air Defense Tender

The Israeli contractor will not participate in the $8 billion-worth tender for the supply of air defense systems to Switzerland after not receiving the necessary permit from the Ministry of Defense. Raytheon and Eurosam were the only bidders to submit proposals

Rafael offered Switzerland its David’s Sling system as part of an air defense tender issued by the European country. However, as recently happened in Poland, Rafael did not reach the final stage of the $8 billion-worth tender for reasons still unclear. It is possible that the reason lies in the identity of the competitors who have reached the finals: Raytheon with the Patriot and Eurosam with the SAMP/T.

Traditionally, the United States, which has been involved in the financing and manufacturing of Israel’s air defense systems, does not want these systems to compete with US systems in international tenders. One of the byproducts of this tension between the two countries is the American decision to introduce Rafael’s interceptors into the Patriot missile system (SkyHunter = Iron Dome, SkyCeptor = David’s Sling).

In Poland, for example, Raytheon offered the SkyCeptor but only in the second stage of the deal, as if to say, “first buy American hardware.” The Polish government wanted the David’s Sling system, but the deal has encountered financial difficulties. We can assume that a similar sales model is expected in Switzerland if Raytheon wins.

The Defense Ministry is silent on the issue (their response will be published here if received), and not for nothing. In view of the anticipated decrease in the utilization of US Aid dollars until 2028, self-imposed censorship on major arms deals is difficult to understand. In the end, Rafael did not receive the ministry’s approval to participate in the tender. “Israel has not submitted a bid for its David's Sling system. The country is no longer part of the selection process,” the Swiss Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“From May to July 2019, several DDPS teams will evaluate the efficiency of the various systems, their maintenance and the required training. From mid-August to the end of September 2019, ground-to-air sensors will be tested in Switzerland to verify the indicated performance of the radar on an ad hoc basis, by ground and target measurements in flight. No fire tests will be carried out. […] All information on these events will be published early August 2019 on the DDPS website,” the ministry stated.