A deal procuring €40 million-worth of long-range anti-tank weaponry has been signed between Estonia and German arms company EuroSpike GmbH.
The Centre for Defence Investment (RKIK), the state body responsible for defense procurement on behalf of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) and other organizations, and representatives of EuroSpike signed the framework agreement for the procurement on Thursday, BNS reports.
The agreement, signed by Priit Soosaar, head of procurements department at RKIK, and Günter Lauer and Roman Palaria of EuroSpike GmbH, lasts for seven years to a value of €40 million, and includes the option to purchase additional units.
In its initial purchase, Estonia is to acquire 18 anti-tank systems plus ammunition, and includes additional equipment, technical support and training.
The first EuroSpike weapons systems are to reach the EDF in Q3 2020, and will be utilized by the infantry brigade's anti-tank companies. EuroSpike usage is to start at the end of next year, BNS reports.
"The defense forces will be provided with a simple and effective system that will add efficiency and flexibility to our units on the battlefield," Priit Soosaar said of the deal.
Soosaar added that as the same system is used by Estonia's neighboring allies and friends, cooperation will be possible in ammunition procurement and even in the event of crisis.
"We are delighted that Estonia is joining the EuroSpike family, which already includes over 30 countries, 18 of them NATO states," Roman Palaria said Thursday.
"The Spike weapons system is already used by Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Spain and Italy. It has been successfully deployed in various areas of conflict and battle situations against modern battle tanks, among other things," he said.
According to Palaria, EuroSpike has sold more than 30,000 missiles. 5,000 of these have been used in live firing and even conflict situations, BNS reports.
"The weapons system to be supplied to Estonia has been manufactured in Germany, where its compliance with German quality requirements has undergone a tough test and the weapon meets the highest NATO standards," Palaria added.
The EDF developed the procurement terms, which included a system's ability to neutralize a modern battle tank, as well as a minimum range of 4,000 meters and the ability to affect targets that are within range but not in sight.
"This is fully modern equipment which has strong development potential over the next few years," Maj. Alar Karileet, Estonian coordinator of the procurement, said.
The RKIK announced the procurement in October last year. Together with infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled guns, automatic firearms and supplementing existing equipment and stock, the procurement represents part of the RKIK's priorities for the coming decade.
Spike is an Israeli-developed fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge HEAT warhead. It is available in man-portable, vehicle-launched, and helicopter-launched variants, and weighs just under 30 kg.
Editor: Andrew Whyte