Estonia and US sign HIMARS contract
The Estonian Defense Investments Center and the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency have signed a contract that will see Estonia procure HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems. The systems will be paid for mostly out of the U.S. defense assistance budget. The HIMARS should reach Estonia in a year or two.
The contract worth over €200 million will see Estonia buy six HIMARS MLRS systems. This includes munitions, communications solutions and training.
"Our personnel will be trained before the weapons systems are delivered, so we will be ready to adopt them as soon as they arrive," said Ramil Lipp, head of weaponry at the Defense Investments Center.
Training will be carried out by American instructors, Lipp said, adding that Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania will also procure HIMARS systems from the U.S. to help harmonize allied training and logistics, as well as contributing greatly to regional defense.
"Looking at what the system can do, missiles in use today have a range of up to 300 kilometers, with future solutions promising 500 kilometers. Therefore, it will gain us a lot in terms of firepower and accurate long-range artillery capacity."
The HIMARS will be paid for primarily out of U.S. defense aid that amounts to $140.5 million this year.
"I see a lot of understanding for this approach in the current Congress and the next one. It is understood that we are taking steps to strengthen transatlantic security in general," Estonian Ambassador to USA Kristjan Prikk said.
Estonia has previously used U.S. aid to complement its large caliber munitions stores.
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Editor: Barbara Oja, Marcus Turovski