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Estonia signs for US rocket artillery in country's largest ever defence procurement

6th December 2022 - 18:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


A US Army HIMARS launcher fires practice rounds during an international exercise in Latvia. The three Baltic states will soon be operating their own HIMARS. (Photo: US Army)

Estonia is to acquire HIMARS weapon systems to expand its indirect fires capabilities under a $200 million deal with the US.

On 2 December, Magnus-Valdemar Saar, director general of the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI), signed a contract with the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) for procurement HIMARS multiple-launcher rocket systems. 

While no quantity was announced, the FMS request by Estonia approved by the State Department in July mentioned up to six launchers with a value of $500 million, so the contract value of $200 million announced last week suggests the total number to be acquired is less than in the request.

'In order to achieve Estonia's defence objectives, we are daily engaged in the renewal of the armaments and ammunition of our defence forces. We are pleased that, in cooperation with our allies, we are able to ensure that the operational capabilities of the new multiple rocket launchers are compatible with those of the US and other allies,' Saar said.

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In addition to the weapon system, Estonia will also procure ammunition, communications equipment, training, logistics and life-cycle support. The package includes rockets with different effects, ranging from 70 to 300km, Ramil Lipp, armament category manager of the ECDI added.

Neighbouring Latvia and Lithuania are also procuring HIMARS. '[HIMARS] is a standard system in NATO, which enables all-round cooperation with other NATO allies, and fits well into the overall NATO joint fire support network," said Lt Col Kaarel Mäesalu, head of capability development, Estonian Defence Forces HQ, said.

The first deliveries will take place in 2024. Concerns have been raised over the US's ability to meet rising international demand for HIMARS launchers and munitions, leading some customers such as Poland to seek alternative solutions

The Shephard News Team


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