Spain has moved a NASAMS medium-range anti-aircraft system to Estonia. Estonia and Latvia have declared a joint tender for medium-range air defense systems of their own. Until it takes delivery of its own systems, Estonia hopes to set up a rotation of allied air defenses, similarly to the Baltic Air Policing mission.
Spanish NASAMS air defense systems were unloaded from cargo shops in the Paldiski South Harbor. The systems were initially meant to arrive on March 25. Because the vessel had no ramp, the systems had to be unloaded using a crane.
While the ship delivered 60 units of cargo, Spain said it will offer no more comment until the weapons have been set up. The Norwegian-U.S. joint system has an effective range of 30-120 kilometers.
The Spanish systems will remain in Estonia for four months.
"We are working on an air defense rotation plan, similar to the Air Policing mission, with new allies," Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur said.
NASAMS rocket systems need to be unloaded from transport vehicles and set up to fire, which takes around one hour. The Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) wants to procure self-propelled anti-aircraft systems, which can be fired without the need to unload them.
The winner of the Estonia-Latvia joint tender will be declared in May.
"Next, we will see whether our allies can supply us with the chosen systems right away. However, irrespective of which system will be picked, the fact that the Spanish are here affords us the opportunity to integrate all of those systems at the Ämari air surveillance center," Pevkur remarked.
NASAMS is used, in addition to Norway, by another ten countries the closest of which to Estonia are Finland and Lithuania. The system is also being used in Ukraine.
Editor: Marcus Turovski