Estonia, Latvia planning joint purchase of German IRIS-T air defense systems
Estonia Latvia plan jointly to acquire German air defense systems for the protection of the two NATO nations’ airspace in what would be the biggest defense cooperation deal between the Baltic neighbors that border Russia, the Estonian Latvian defense ministries said Sunday.
According to the provisional deal, deliveries of the medium-range IRIS-T SLM air defense system — manufactured by weapons maker Diehl Defence of Germany — could begin next year the systems could be operational in 2025.
The value of the deal detailed information about the numbers of the system weren’t disclosed as talks with the supplier are still ongoing, defense ministries of the two countries said.
Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur described the deal as “a joint project of historical proportions for our defense cooperation, the largest one to date” between Tallinn Riga.
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“Presuming that negotiations are successful, we (Estonia Latvia) hope to reach contract and, subsequently, announce the official winning bidder this summer,” Pevkur said in a statement.
The German air defense system, consisting of truck-mounted launchers, missiles a separate commvehicle, is designed to protect cities, armies civilian population from air attacks, being effective at neutralizing planes helicopters.
The system can be used for protection from a host of other threats, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles loitering munitions.
“Our jointly selected medium-range air defense system will further secure the skies of Latvia Estonia will provide the maximum possible protection for our people, as well as civil military infrastructure,” Latvian Defense Minister Inara Murniece said in a statement.
Germany has delivered IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine where, according to media reports, they have been successfully used against Russian targets since late last year during Moscow’s war on Kyiv.