Estonia could get medium-range air defense in three years
Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said that the matter of procuring medium-range air defense capacity will land on the government's agenda in the coming weeks. Ideally, Estonia could have the systems in three years' time.
Air defense exercises held in Estonia aside, neither Estonia nor Latvia have medium-range air defense systems currently. Lithuania is the only Baltic country with this particular capability.
Medium-range air defense systems can hit targets up to 50 kilometers away that constitutes a major advantage in war.
"Procuring these systems with Latvia will give us the same capability. It gives us a major battlefield advantage. These systems are fully compatible that provides the advantage of homogeneity. We will also be able to procure additional missiles and other components together with the Latvian defense ministry," said Priit Soosaar, head of the communications and radar category at the Estonian Defense Investments Center.
Estonia and Latvia will be able to hold joint exercises in addition to joint procurements being cheaper overall.
Soosaar said that all preparations for the procurement have been made.
Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur said he aims to take the plan to the government in the coming weeks.
"We are putting the very finishing touches on the memo and are hoping to go out with it in the next few weeks," the minister said.
Pevkur said that exact sums are difficult to talk about as several options exist for the international tender.
Soosaar added that it is important to point out that Estonia is procuring a capacity as opposed to a single weapon system.
"This means we are giving potential bidders a list of military tasks for which they can offer technical solutions that would help safeguard the airspace of Estonia and Latvia," he explained.
Hanno Pevkur said the system could ideally be in use three years from now, while it is also possible the international tender will take longer.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski