Estonia has allocated budgetary funds to buy aerial weapon systems, Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur announced.
Procurement contracts will be awarded by the first quarter of 2023, with an expected operational system by 2025.
The procurement involves mid-range air defense systems that will enable Estonian forces to engage aircraft, unmanned aerial systems, missiles, and loitering munitions.
“The mid-range air defence capabilities will include the air defence missile system, radars and command centres, as well as a multitude of other components,” Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) Communications and Radar Category Manager Priit Soosaar said.
“This is a mobile missile system, which will allow destroying airborne attackers from at least 30 kilometres away.”
ECDI has negotiated with six international contractors to work on the procurement, including companies from the US, UK, Norway, Germany, France, Israel, and South Korea.
The procurement will involve investments until 2027. The initial orders are expected to be delivered by 2024.
Costs to Be Announced
No precise amount has been stated regarding the contracts, but the value would be “hundreds of millions of euros,” according to Pevkur.
The exact volume of the order will be released after the procurement process.
“The cost of these capabilities will include the air defence system, as well as the necessary infrastructure, personnel, training, equipment and other related costs,” the defense minister said.
“We are aiming for the best terms with this procurement, which is also why we can speak more concretely about the numbers and volumes once the process is at the end.”
Utilizing Ideas from Ukraine
Estonia will incorporate information gathered from aerial weapon systems active in Ukraine’s ongoing conflict with Russia.
“In procuring the mid-range air defence capabilities, we first and foremost consider military needs,” Estonian Deputy Chief of Defence Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm explained.
“When putting together the technical specifications, we also considered lessons learned from the war in Ukraine. These show that it is important for the systems to be mobile and have sufficient range.”
A Joint Procurement
Latvia will collaborate on Estonia’s weapons system procurement as part of the joint procurement protocol planned during the North Atlantic Council meeting in Madrid in June.
The ECDI and the Latvian Ministry of Defence greenlighted the procurement protocol in July.
“From a regional security perspective, it is important for these two systems to be interoperable. That allows us to better organise air defence in the region, to reduce costs, and to jointly organise training, stockpiling and logistics,” Pevkur said.