The government is purchasing an air defence system, equipped to shoot down aircrafts, worth RM1.2 billion from a British company, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy Defence Minister Mohd Shafie Haji Apdal said a contract was signed with MBDA (UK) Ltd on April 10 this year to procure the Jernas system, which included missile launchers, radars, training and support.

The purchase is expected to be completed by 2005.

Mohd Shafie was replying to Husam Musa (PAS-Kubang Kerian) during the question-and-answer session.

Husam had asked if the government was intending to purchase the Jernas air defence system and Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannons.

To Husam's question on the Oerlikon cannons, Mohd Shafie said 29 were purchased in stages from 1988 to 1999 at the price of RM668 million from the Oerlikon Contraves Switzerland Company.

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