George Karoullas on armament programs | “Let the people know that a lot of work is being done”

Defence Redefined
Published on 08/01/2021 at 12:43

The operational upgrade of the National Guard and its modernization is something that is of interest to the Cypriot public, given the Turkish aggression and the threats that constantly arise from the development of new weapon systems. 

In this regard, our page DEFENCE ReDEFiNED, contacted the DISY MP and member of the Parliamentary Defence Committee, George Karoullas, asking him relevant questions, without revealing classified information.

Also read: Statements by members of the Defence Committee | Cyprus is being equipped – “What is being planned is very good”

Feeling optimistic about the armament program of the National Guard, Mr. Karoullas told us that: “the National Guard continues its armament program, relentlessly and uninterruptedly, in order to implement it to the maximum possible extent. The upgrade and the modernization continue as planned, the pandemic has not affected us and people should know that a lot of work is being done, regarding the armaments program of the National Guard.”

As for the Defence budget and whether it differs from the political developments, the DISY MP replied that at the moment there is nothing tangible, since discussions and negotiations are underway, so we must wait and see. 

“People should know that many things are underway in the National Guard, that for the last four years the budget has exceeded 100 million euro every year, together with the supplementary budget. This year we exceeded 100 million euro from the initial budget (i.e. 104 million euro) and I estimate that this year there will be an additional budget too,” said Mr. Karoullas regarding the amounts spent for the defence shield of Cyprus. 

Also read: Extraordinary armament program for the National Guard, amounting to € 77.2 million 

He added that: “A lot is being done which is not announceable. The National Guard is being modernized in terms of armaments and the operational needs are being met.”  

On the issue and the scenarios of women’s conscription in the National Guard, Mr. Karoulas, expressing his personal position, said: “We do not disagree, but this is something that must be examined properly, based on the relevant needs.”

Regarding the scenarios for extending the term of conscripts, the DISY MP expressed his personal opinion that it would be better to increase the number of the Professional Soldiers (SYOP), despite the extension in the term of conscripts.   

We remind you that, in 2020, the National Guard received the latest data of the 155mm NORA B52 self-propelled guns, which it had ordered in 2017 from the Serbian Yugoimport.

In addition to the NORA B52 self-propelled guns, a total of eight Milos wheeled vehicles have been received for the needs of each artillery as fire control centers.

The current armament programs of the National Guard concern the purchase of a new squadron of Exocet MM40 Blk3c anti-aircraft missiles with a range of 200 km, the upgrade of the remaining Exocet MM40 Blk 2 missiles and the acquisition of Mistral-3 portable short-range (MANPADS) anti-aircraft missiles (V-SHORAD). 

Read also: National Guard | 2020 Review – A full year for the armed forces of the Republic of Cyprus – Photos & VIDEO





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