The Defense Minister Sven Mikser signed today a contract to buy 80 Javelin missile systems from the United States, in a deal worth 40 million euros.
It is expected that the proposed sale will improve Estonia’s capability to meet current and future threats and provide greater security.
Mikser said in October that the US understands that in the new security situation, Estonia must increase deterrence of potential aggressors. “With these new anti-tank missile systems, we will increase our Defense Forces’ fighting capability,” he said.
Estonia will pay less than 40 million euros for the missile systems, which were produced some time ago, but have been left unused.
Javelin is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance. The system takes a top-attack flight profile against armored vehicles (attacking the top armor, which is generally thinner), but can also take a direct-attack mode for use against buildings. This missile also has the ability to engage helicopters in the direct attack mode.
“Due to the changed security circumstances, we decided to proceed with the procurement as soon as possible,” Mikser said, adding that thanks to the allied support of the United States, things are moving ahead quickly and Estonia should receive the systems in 2015.
“The sale will not only deepen our cooperation as NATO allies, but will also enhance greatly Estonia's defense capability,” the US Ambassador to Tallinn, Jeffery D. Levine said.
“I'm grateful to have such a missile system. For the Defense Forces, it is a step forward,” the Estonian Chief of Defense, Riho Terras, said.
Javelin is in use with the American forces since the 1990s and has been used in Iraq War, as well as in Afghanistan. In addition to the US, Israel, Taiwan, the UK, and Australia also use the system.
The purchase of the Javelins is in line with the national defense development plan for 2013-2022, which calls for reinforcing the Defense Forces’ anti-tank capability and the purchase of third-generation anti-tank missile systems.