Estonia plans to acquire a mid-range air defence system with Latvia

Estonia and Latvia on 30 June signed a letter of intent at the NATO summit in Madrid to create a legal framework for a joint procurement of Estonian and Latvian mid-range air defence systems.

“The NATO summit has sent a clear message that those who are ready to defend themselves will be helped. Estonia is a reliable ally and certainly one of those countries that will do its part,” the outgoing Estonian defence minister, Kalle Laanet, said in a statement.

According to him, it is important that Estonia, in addition to the support provided by the allies, is ready to contribute to its air defence.

“Russia’s aggression in Ukraine clearly demonstrates the need for air defence systems,” the Latvian defence minister, Artis Pabriks, added. “I am delighted that we will be implementing this project together with Estonia, thus strengthening our regional cooperation and common defence.”

Various air defence solutions introduced to the government

Estonia’s defence ministry has introduced various air defence capability solutions to the country’s government, and a specific proposal for creating an air defence capability is planned to be submitted to the government at the end of July.

“In addition to the additional mid-range air defence offered by the allies, Estonia also needs its own corresponding capability. The primary mid-range air defence capability ensures air defence for the mobilisation of reserve troops of the Estonian Defence Forces and creates prerequisites for the arrival of allied reinforcements at Estonian ports and airfields, as well as enables manoeuvres of ground forces,” the Estonian defence ministry said in a statement.

“The allies’ additional air defence strengthens Estonia’s own capability and also provides additional support to incoming allied troops, for example by defending against adversary aircraft and missiles.”

According to the letter of intent, the joint procurement process of Estonian and Latvian air defence systems will be managed by the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment. The basis of the acquisition will be the military advice from the chiefs of defence of Estonia and Latvia.

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