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New Defense League chief keen to develop mobile drone defense systems

Ukrainian anti-drone defense teams on a training exercise.
Ukrainian anti-drone defense teams on a training exercise. Source: SCANPIX / AFP

The Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit) could begin developing mobile drone defense systems based on lessons learned from the war in Ukraine, said the new Commander of the Defense League, Maj. Gen. Ilmar Tamm.

"Something that has been discussed lately, if we are referring to the lessons from Ukraine, is drone warfare. I've also said in the past that this could be the next stage, in which create slightly more mobile teams. They don't necessarily have to be on military platforms (military vehicles - ed.), maybe we could use 4 x 4 (four-wheel drive - ed.) machines. A stationary base is needed here and then a slightly darker machine gun team that can detect [drones]," Maj. Gen. Tamm said on radio show "Vikerhommik" on Saturday.

"And then what becomes critical is precisely the communications solution - where to get information about the direction [the drone] is coming from and the speed at which it is coming, in order to have an impact on it," he added.

The head of the Defense League said that the Ukrainians have essentially built up a layered air defense system, which allows them to shoot down Russian-launched drones quite effectively, even when they arrive in swarms.

"This ought to be part of what we need to be prepared for and what we are going to include in our training," the general said.

Building on the experience gained from Ukraine, Maj. Gen. Tam also mentioned the Defense League's role in protecting critical objects and establishing check-points, which its members have already practiced during the recent Ussisõnad (Parseltongue) training exercise. There is also a need to develop networks where people can provide information regarding unusual or suspicious enemy activities.

"I think all that would be needed is to talk to the Ukrainians to understand how these things work, where they don't work and where we could try them out and practice them as well as adapt them in the process of developing our own capabilities," he said.

Maj. Gen. Tamm officially took over leadership of the Estonian Defense League from outgoing  commander, Maj. Gen. Riho Ühtegi, at a ceremony on Tallinn's Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak) on Friday.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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