Estonia to acquire loitering munitions from Israel
The Estonian state has inked a contract with Israeli firm Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), by which it will procure stealth air attack munitions. Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) says the deal is worth €100 million.
Center for Defense Investments (RKIK) armaments category head Ramil Lipp says his organization has been able to upgrade Estonia's indirect fire and precision fire capabilities over the past year. Loitering air attack munitions forms a part of that improvement, he says.
Lipp noted that IAI has pledged to deliver the munitions to Estonia next year; the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) are at a level of preparedness which would allow them to utilize the capability as soon as this delivery takes place, he added.
Commander of the EDF's capabilities creation department, Kaarel Mäesalu, said that with the IAI procurement, the EDF's combat capability will be bolstered "significantly", in terms of firepower.
Smart solutions and precision attack capabilities are vital for Estonia's defense, Mäesalu added.
"Lurking munitions can operate in a variety of weather conditions, and are suitable for our climate," Mäesalu went on.
Ground forces tasked with deploying the munitions will have attained full capability by 2025, he added.
Once implemented, the EDF will have greater air attack range and capabilities, than at present, Lipp said.
Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) confirmed the contract on social media.
We signed a nine figure contract today with IAI to acquire loitering munition for @Kaitsevagi pic.twitter.com/HdseMpvcuB— Hanno Pevkur (@HPevkur) May 2, 2023
Loitering munitions, known colloquially as kamikaze drones or suicide drones, involve the munition "loitering" around a target area for a period of time, striking once a target is located. Their use has been widespread in the course of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov