Switzerland’s arms manufacturer RUAG has signed an agreement with the Federal Office for Defence Procurement (armasuisse) to upgrade the Swiss Air Force’s transport helicopters.

Under the agreement, the company will modernise eight Cougar helicopters with a major focus on electronic flight control, navigation and communication systems.

Upgrades to be delivered will include installation of new flight management computers, a precision navigation system for instrument flights, a collision avoidance system, helmet mounted displays, as well as the latest generation radio equipment and satellite phones.

Additional enhancements to be provided to the helicopters are the latest IDAS-3 self-defence system and a company-developed system to produce an audible signal if the aircraft leaves a defined flight level.

The IDAS system is designed for deploying countermeasures such as dispensing decoys and providing signals about radar, laser and electro-optical waves and missiles to the crew.

“The overhaul will involve disassembling the aircraft to replace or repair relevant parts that are damaged.”

RUAG Military Aviation senior vice-president Philipp Berner said: “Ensuring the readiness of the Swiss helicopter fleet is an essential part of our core mission. This upgrade will provide the airforce with a state-of-the-art transport helicopter system for the decade to come and, in doing so, ensure mission success.”

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Furthermore, the helicopters that were acquired by the Swiss Air Force in 1998 will undergo a full overhaul programme.

The overhaul will involve disassembling the aircraft to replace or repair relevant parts that are damaged.

Work under the agreement will be carried out the company’s facilities in Emmen by mid-2022.

The Swiss Air Force currently operates ten Cougar helicopters and 15 other transport helicopters, which are used to transport people and materials, support disaster relief, search and rescue missions at home and abroad.