Georgia, France ramp up air defence deal with new contract

  • Georgia’s defence minister Levan Izoria (R) will meet his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris next week. Photo: Georgia’s defence ministry press office., 11 Apr 2017 - 16:37, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s airspace will be increasingly protected over the next two years under an agreement with France that includes providing the Georgian Armed Forces with new air defence equipment and personnel training.

Minister of Defence of Georgia Levan Izoria told local reporters on Tuesday his office had signed a new air defence deal in the framework of ongoing cooperation with France.

The agreement involves increasing spending by the armed forces for training its service members to operate new anti-aircraft defence systems and purchasing the equipment itself from French companies.

A number of financial transactions have already been carried out, and we are entering the intensive phase of the agreement throughout 2017-2018, during which we will increase the spending [to] purchase an anti-air system ensuring global protection for our country”, said Izoria in his comments.

Izoria also stressed the importance of the air defence component for Georgia’s security, saying both land-based forces and prospective navy development would need air defence systems for achieving the goal.

He further told the media he would meet his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris next week to "go through further details” of the air defence agreement.

The Georgian defence ministry has been in air defence cooperation with the French since 2015, signing deals for ground-based surveillance radars and air defence command and control systems.

In his official visit to Georgia in September 2016 Le Drian said his office’s work with Georgian colleagues was aimed at helping Georgia "develop effective means of (ensuring) its air defence, which is central to its sovereignty.”