Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said on October 1 that the country’s airspace would now be “more protected and effectively controlled”. He presented the arrival of the French-made ground-based surveillance radars and short range anti-aircraft missile systems to Georgia.
PM Bakhtadze said the air forces are among the main elements of the country’s defense capabilities as well as of the NATO-Georgia substantial package, and its protection is “a matter of honor.” He also said Georgia will “spare no effort” to ensure that its armed forces are in full compliance with the “NATO standards”.
While the exact type of the supplied equipment is not officially known, Jane’s 360, has identified the radars as ThalesRaytheon Ground Master 400 and 200 series. In the images distributed by the Georgian Defense Ministry today, the very short range Mistral Atlas system by MDBA could also be seen.
Defense Minister Levan Izoria said, the country is ready to move to the next stage of negotiations with France to ensure “maximal protection” of its airspace. He also noted that GEL 23 million (USD 8.81 million) has been provided from the national defense budget for aviation this year, while the United States also assists the country in improving its air-transportation and logistics capabilities.
According to the Defense Minister, Georgia’s “main strategic partner” – U.S. – would finance maintenance and modernization of helicopters, so that apart from dealing with the defense tasks, they could also engage in rescue and fire-fighting operations across the country.
Izoria also underscored that by spending 2% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense, Georgia is an “exemplary” partner for NATO, and that later on this week he will speak about the country’s recent reforms and upcoming “ambitious plans” at the NATO-Georgia Defense ministerial in Brussels as well as at the meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis.