Estonia Enhances Its Air Defence Capability

TALLINN (Estonia), June 13, 2018, Author: Bm team, Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Estonia has announced that it has agreed to purchase a short-range air defence system complete with Mistral surface-to-air missiles from MBDA Missile Systems under a €50 million contract, reported Defense News.

The contract is also reported to involve simulators, training missiles, testing and maintenance equipment. The small Baltic country may also acquire additional Mistral missiles worth up to €100 million under an option, which also included in the agreement.

The deliveries are planned to start in 2020.

As of the moment, NATO-member Estonia lacks a reliable air defence capability and the county has been looking for ways to build it up like its neighbours Latvia and Lithuania. Now the weakest link in the defence strategy of the country, as seen by experts, will be enhanced.

The Mistral is an infrared homing MANPADS. MANPADS stands for man-portable air-defense system. It is a surface-to-air missile, guided by the heat of the aircraft, and one operator is enough for it to be easily controlled. The basic Mistral missile is launched from a man-portable unit. It also may be fired from armoured vehicles, helicopters, and ships.

Photo: 17 May 2014, Estonian anti-aircraft unit members aim a Mistral anti-aircraft missile at a fighter jet overhead in the NATO “Spring Storm” military exercises near Otepaa in Estonia.