Minister: Defense industry collaboration with Germany bearing fruit

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Estonian and German defense ministers Kalle Laanet and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. Source: Bundeswehr/Sebastian Wilke.

German-Estonian defense industry cooperation is bearing fruit in the form of world class technological developments, defense minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) said during a recent, official two-day visit to Germany which included a meeting with his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU).

Laanet said that: "Estonian defense industry firms currently find themselves in a rapid phase of development and are actively seeking cooperation opportunities in foreign markets."

"The strengths and competitive advantages of our companies lie in the development of military robotics and autonomous systems, cyber defense, surveillance equipment, and the development of innovative solutions based on artificial intelligence," he went on.

"This has also been proven by the recent success of the Estonian defense industry in receiving funding from the European Defense Fund's pilot program, EDIDP," Laanet said, according to a ministry press release.

Laanet also met Lt. Gen. Erich Pfeffer, Commander of Bundeswehr Operations Command, while in Germany, discussing future options for Estonian-German co-operation on international foreign missions were discussed.

Laanet thanked his German opposite number Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer for her country's contribution to the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission, which he called one of the best examples of NATO's deterrence and defense posture in the Baltic Sea region.

"Germany is a strong ally for Estonia, having completed 14 air policing rotations in the Baltic States during the course of the NATO Air Policing mission, eight of them from Ämari. I believe that Germany will again be able to secure Baltic airspace from Estonia soon," the Estonian defense minister said.

The Luftwaffe, the German air force, held the NATO Baltic Air Policing role based at Ämari from August last year to May this year.

Laanet also expressed his condolences over the recent large-scale flooding in Germany, in which 170 people have lost their lives.

He said: "I am deeply saddened that so many people were injured or lost their lives due to the floodwaters, and had their homes destroyed. The Bundeswehr is providing invaluable assistance to the affected areas, and it is my sincere hope that the joint efforts will help life return to normal. Estonia is ready to help, if necessary."

The two defense ministers welcomed the joint project involving Estonian-German field hospitals in support of Ukraine's military medicine, which will provide basic training for Ukrainian teams and instructors in deploying the field hospitals.

The mobile field hospital, Role 2, is made by Estonian company Semetron.

Laanet also attended a Bundeswehr memorial near Potsdam, dedicated to those who have fallen while on active duty in foreign missions.

The defense minister visited local defense industry companies as well, namely Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW); the latter has a stake in Estonian robotics firm Milrem.

Laanet also met with Jean Delbecq, Airbus VP Europe, again discussing closer cooperation in defense.

"Estonia's innovative defense cooperation cluster is a worthy partner for large companies such as Airbus," Laanet said.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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