Georgia Signs Deal in France to Buy “Air Defense System”

Georgia has signed an agreement in France on the purchase of an advanced system that will guarantee the country’s air defense.

According to Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli, one more deal is being prepared on arms purchase and, as she said, in few weeks she will be heading back to France.

Citing its privacy, officials are reluctant to discuss the details of the contract. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has not released any information about the system nor its price. It has not even named the company they made the deal with, on the sideline of the Paris Air Show on June 15.

However, the MoD did release a short video which shows that the French company Thales and American Raytheon’s joint venture ThalesRaytheonSystem (TRS) signed an agreement. More precisely, Jerome Bendell, the company’s CEO for French operations signed the contract on behalf of TRS.

TRS is an aerospace and defense company which produces a range of ground-based surveillance radars, air defense command and control systems, as well as offering cyber capabilities.

“I really cannot speak about the details of the contract,” said Tina Khidasheli. “These kinds of documents with such types of procurement information should be a top state secret.”

“When the contract is completed and when the weapons arrive in Georgia we will be able to openly say that our defense capability is guaranteed,” she revealed.

Also, on June 15, Khidasheli met her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris.

“I had a very good meeting with the French Defense Minister. We discussed many issues, including arms purchase,” said Khidasheli.

The Georgian Defense Minister thanked both of her predecessors, Alasania and Janelidze, for making this agreement possible, as they also met the French Defense Minister in the past year and a half. Jean-Yves Drian met Irakli Alasania three times and also met Mindia Janelidze in March, 2015.

“This is only the first step, because we are not going to stop,” said Khidasheli, “Our plans are much bigger and very soon you will learn about the second contract, which I hope will be signed very soon in Paris.”

Minister Khidasheli also mentioned that the terms of this agreement are very profitable for Georgia and thanked France for the cooperation.

Nino Melikishvili

18 June 2015 22:29