Which anti-aircraft system was Alasania going to buy?
09 April, 2015
Which anti-aircraft system was Alasania going to buy?
Almost six months after resignation from the Defense Minister’s post, Irakli Alasania accused PM Irakli Gharibashvili and ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili of deliberately upsetting the plans of strengthening the potential of the Georgian air defense system.

Alasania clarified that in case such a system was bought, the Georgian army would be able to shoot down not only any type of Russian aircraft, but also even ballistic missiles of the “Iskander” type.

Irakli Alasania declared that during an official visit to France
on October 28 of 2014, he devised a memorandum with the local corporations that envisaged signing an agreement on purchase of air defense system components. As he asserts, one day prior to settling of the memorandum then-Secretary of State Security and Crisis Management Mindia Janelidze called him and asked to suspend the signing but Alasania didn’t consider it.
According to Alasania’s claim, his “diso­bedience” resulted in detention of five high-ranking officials of the Military of Defense on the so-called cable case. He also said that he maintained silence as he thought that Mindia Janelidze, the new Minister of Defense, would continue the work initiated by Alasania and sign the post-memorandum agreement on purchase of air defense system components, but he was wrong. According to Alasania, due to inactivity of the government the time limit of the memorandum has expired and Georgia is now left without an effective air defense system.
Despite the revelation of so many details and accusations, the ex-Defense Minister didn’t specify the exact type of the air defense system that he was negotiating. Irakli Alasania only clarified that in case this system was bought, the Georgian army would be able to shoot down not only any type of Russian aircraft, but even ballistic missiles of the “Iskander” type.
On the same day, accusations of the ex-Minister of Defense were responded to by Mindia Janelidze, the acting Minister of Defense. He declared that no agreement was signed with the French side. It was only the so-called letter of intention or a memorandum, which is in essence a document signifying goodwill of the parties involved in negotiations. According to the Minister, consultations with the French side regarding this issue continue and are successful.
After the Ambassador of France commented on the issue, Alasania wondered why there was no mention of the document that had been signed; moreover, Alasania claimed that the Ambassador knew when the post-memorandum agreement was to be signed.
Ex-Minister of Defense’s boast of the French anti-aircraft system being able to shoot down even the Russian “Iskander” missiles makes us think that he aimed to obtain the modern French anti-air system SAMP/T because only the Aster 30 type of active radiolocation targeting missiles are able to shoot down helicopters and planes at the altitude of 25 km and the distance of 100 km as well as destroy the Russian “Tochka-U” tactical ballistic missiles within the 35 km radius. The Aster 30 anti-aircraft missile may also be used against the more modern “Iskanders” as well, but at an even closer range.
Tactical and technical data of other French anti-aircraft missile complexes, such as for instance Mistrale, Crotale or VLMICA, is worse than that of SAMP/T and they cannot be used against the “Iskanders” with their enormous (over 500 km) range, which was noted by the ex-Defense Minister.
Several batteries of the French SAMP/T deployed in West and East Georgia would securely cover the Georgian sky at medium and high altitudes because they are analogous to the American Patriot and Russian C-300PMU systems.
But one may ask: would the budget of Georgia be able to handle such purchases? It’s difficult to name exact figures, but the ex-Minister of Defense declared that Georgia would have to pay several dozens of millions annually.
The price isn’t the main problem, however; it is more about the unofficial embargo declared by majority of European countries against Georgia after the 2008 war. Europe decided to refrain from irritating Russia further and refused to sell military equipment to Georgia’s army.
Despite the fact that Irakli Alasania signed a memorandum with the consortium producing the anti-aircraft systems (allegedly, it was EUROSAM), it doesn’t mean at all that the President of France -- and possibly that of Italy, because this is an Italian-French consortium -- wouldn’t be against the selling of these modern anti-aircraft missile systems to Georgia, yet again due to the Russian factor.

geotv.ge“Will the French Ambassador deny this as well?”

What photos did the ex-Defense Minister’s wife publish?
Natia Panjikidze, wife of ex-Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, has published several photos on her Facebook with a caption “Will the French Ambassador deny this as well?”
We’d like to bring to your attenion that Renaud Salins, Ambassador of France to Georgia, has recently declared that no commitment with the French manufacturers of military equipment was signed by the Georgian side. According to him, there were and still are only discussions on that topic between the Georgian side and the French manufacturers.
“Last year certain discussions started between the Georgian government and the French manufacturers in the usual mode of cooperation. No agreement, no contract, no obligation, nothing of the sort. I can only say that the discussions that started last year are still underway,” declared Mr. Salins.
Presumably, the photos published by Mrs. Panjikidze reflect the signing of a memorandum between the Georgian and French parties.

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