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Estonia orders Piorun MANPADS

Estonia has ordered the Piorun MANPADS, pictured here at MSPO 2022. (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

The Estonian Centre for Defence Investment has signed a contract with Poland's Mesko to supply Estonia with the Piorun short-range manportable air-defence system (MANPADS). Estonia will receive 300 missiles and 100 launchers, with the first lot scheduled to arrive in mid-2023. The deal will give Estonia an additional short-range air defense (SHORAD) system and will complement its Mistrals already in service.

The Piorun MANPADS is an evolution of the older Grom, itself based on the Soviet-designed Igla system of the late Cold War era. The Piorun has a range of 6.5 km and can reach an altitude of 6 km, compared with a range of 5.5 km and altitude of 4 km for the Grom-2. The grip stock has a keypad enabling the user to select the missile's targets, ranging from slow-moving unmanned aerial vehicles to fast jets. The timing of the proximity fuze can be selected to increase the likelihood of a first-hit kill.

The Piorun has been in Polish service since 2017, receiving minor changes based on feedback from the Polish army. A night-time infrared scope has been added that enables improved night-time targeting and makes it possible for the user to adjust magnification for more distant targets. Other modifications have included a new type of propellant with a longer burn to increase range and maximum altitude, as well as modified tail fins to increase the agility of the missile in flight.

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