Today in Poland, the Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur and Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak reaffirmed the need to strengthen defence cooperation between the two states. As a first practical step in that direction, within the framework of the ministers’ meeting, the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (RKIK) and the Polish defence technology company Mesko signed an agreement for the Estonian-Polish joint procurement of the PIORUN short-range man-portable air defence systems (MANPADs).
“Procuring these Polish-made PIORUN systems is a leap forward for the Estonian short-range air defence capability, which in turn is an upgrade for Estonian self-defence capability as a whole. In addition, this procurement is also a landmark for our defence cooperation, both in terms of strengthening regional security as well as bilateral cooperation,” said Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur.
The Government allocated 103 million euros (VAT included) from the defence reinforcement package to strengthening air defence capabilities.
The minister of defence added that the benefits of the joint procurement include faster delivery and the technical fit of the Polish weapons systems, which for our region is an important aspect of security. “Procuring the same weapons systems as Poland ensures the continued development of the Estonian defence capability, since it means a secure supply chain in peace time as well as during war. In addition, we can jointly organise the validation of weapons systems and missile testing,” added Pevkur.
Pevkur explained that Poland is a very important regional ally for us, and the defence cooperation between our two countries is sure to remain close and practical in coming years as well.
“This is the day that testifies that Polish armament industry is able to produce good, proved and modern armament, also for our allies. Estonia is our close ally. And it is historic moment for our joint, bilateral cooperation among us as allies as well as defense industry cooperation,“ said Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak.
PIORUN is an air defence weapons system developed in Poland and operational since 2019. It will be used in brigades and territorial defence units, which allows developing short-range air defence capabilities across Estonia. The first deliveries are expected in the second half of 2023 and the training will begin next year before the systems are delivered to Estonia.
Priit Soosaar, head of the communications and radar category at RKIK, noted that the open competition and joint procurement both led to an effective solution that is also economically favourable. “We are very happy that this joint procurement with Poland has reached the final stage and is now signed. Cooperating with Poland brings a host of benefits for Estonia: financial savings, better terms, more efficient project management, and the inclusion of a significant share of engineering expertise from other countries,” commented Soosaar.
“The new air defence systems are a valuable added asset to the Defence Forces’ capability to destroy targets in the air. The PIORUN systems, first and foremost, will increase the mobility and reaction speed of our air defence capabilities. This means we will be better defended at precise locations, where and when it is needed most,” said Deputy Chief of Defence major general Veiko-Vello Palm.
The PIORUN system is short-range man-portable air defence system made in Poland. It can hit targets from a distance of up to eight kilometres and can be used both in the daytime and at night. The system is in use in Poland and Ukraine, where it has already proven its worth as one of the most successful weapons systems during the war in Ukraine.
The benefit of this weapons system is that it can be moved quickly and stealthily to areas at risk of a landing operation or to an area, where it is known that the enemy’s movements are covered by close-range air support from helicopters or fighters. In addition, the system is hard to detect and destroy for the enemy.
In essence, the PIORUN is a simple system that can be widely used by light infantry units and territorial defence units without needing extensive air defence training. Using the system doesn’t require various sensor systems either – it is enough for the soldier to visually detect the location of a flying object.
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Estonian Center for Defence Investment