05 May 2023
by Nicholas Fiorenza
Estonia has ordered long-range loitering munitions from IAI. (ECDI)
Estonia has ordered long-range loitering munitions from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI) and the Israeli company announced in a joint press release on 2 May. The ECDI and IAI said it was one of the most expensive defence procurements Estonia has undertaken, “significantly increasing its indirect fire capabilities”. An ECDI spokesperson told Janes on 5 May that the contract is valued at over EUR100 million (USD110 million), declining to give the exact amount.
The IAI sent a press release with photos of its Mini Harpy and Harop loitering munitions, and ECDI's photos from the signing of the contract included a mock-up of a Mini Harpy at the ceremony. However, the spokesperson only stated that the ECDI is acquiring “products from the IAI family of loitering munitions… We cannot specify the quantities of the ammunition to be procured”.
In addition to long-range loitering munitions, Estonia is procuring extended-range artillery ammunition, anti-ship missiles, and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs).
They will reinforce the Estonian Defence Forces' (EDF's) indirect fire capabilities, currently provided by 81 mm and 120 mm mortars in manoeuvre units and K9 Thunder 155 mm self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) at the divisional level. Estonia plans to create divisional-level MLRS and long-range loitering munitions units in the EDF in 2024–25. The Baltic state is procuring six High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) MLRS systems and different types of missiles with ranges from 70 to 300 km, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2024.
The first loitering munitions deliveries are also expected in 2024. Before the systems' deployment, the EDF will train on them so it is readyto use them upon their arrival.
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Estonia has ordered long-range loitering munitions from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Eston...