Estonia is purchasing over 500 Israeli-made Spike SR anti-tank missiles, the Center for Defense Investment (RKK) says. The first consignment will arrive later this year, and will include ancillary equipment such as training missiles. The launchers are reportedly already in-country.
The main Spike SR operators will be the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit), whose 90 mm towed anti-tank guns the systems will replace, ERR reports.
Ramil Lipp, the Armament Category Manager at the RKK said that: "In the case of such a high-volume and important investment, we are extremely glad that thanks to comparing different capabilities, we were able to save nearly two million euros on the expected total cost of the project and thereby significantly improve our antitank capability."
"This is a single-use antitank missile with a range of up to two kilometers and it is also capable of attacking moving targets. The first deliveries will arrive in Estonia in 2022," Lipp continued, according to an RKK press release.
Col. Eero Rebo, Defense League Chief of General Staff, said that the new weapons will significantly increase Estonia's anti-tank capabilities.
He said: ""The new anti-tank weapons will ensure better combat power for the units of the Defense League, thus helping us neutralize an adversary from further away and more accurately.
"We are also prepared to fight armored adversaries; therefore, the new weapons are extremely important for us. In addition to the weapons, we will also receive training materials that help us reduce the costs related to putting the new armaments into use while substantially improving the efficiency of our units on the battlefield," Col. Rebo continued.
Israel Defense reported that EuroSpike, a joint venture between German firms Diehl Defense and Rheinmetall Electronic and Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, had received the order, which also included backpacks, from the RKK.
Lt Col. Martin Kukk of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) said: "The EDF's ability to influence an enemy's armor will be greatly enhanced. The difference is that, while there is currently a 1,500-meter anti-tank capability at battalion level, the training equipment, which will be purchased after-sales, is also very effective."
The video below shows the Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile System in action.
The order is part of a deal signed in 2019, to supply 18 spike launchers systems to the Estonian army over a period of seven years.
The launchers already delivered in 2020, while the he agreement includes an option to purchase additional launcher systems, Israel Defense reports.
Spike SR is a lightweight, shoulder-launched, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile which has an effective range of up to 2,000 meters.
A demonstration of Spike SR was conducted in Estonia in September 2020, Israel Defense says.
Other, recent Estonian defense procurements include those of Carl-Gustaf M4 grenade launchers.
The EDF's two infantry brigades are focused on heavy, mechanized infantry capabilities, while other central planks of Estonian current defense doctrine include artillery capabilities and coastal defenses, as well as cyber defense.
The EDF has also in the past used the now-obsolete Milan anti-tank missile systems, the RKK says.
The Defense League is a volunteer, citizen-staffed force which complements the EDF.
This article was updated to include comments from Ramil Lipp.
Editor: Andrew Whyte