Meeting at the sidelines of the NATO defence ministers’ meeting today in Brussels, Minister of Defence of Estonia Hanno Pevkur and Minister of Defence of Spain Margarita Robles agreed that Spain will deploy a NASAMS air defence system to Estonia in April 2023 for a period of four months.
According to Minister of Defence Pevkur, as Estonia awaits the arrival of its own air defence systems, it is important that Allied support is present. “The Eastern flank of NATO has grown its muscle significantly over the past year. Considering the need to fill this critical gap in our medium-range air defence capabilities, I am very glad that we reached an agreement with Spain on the deployment of their NASAMS medium-range ground based air defence system for four months, starting this April,” said Pevkur.
“This is a short-term solution, however, we are already preparing a more sustainable solution. To that end, with Latvia and Lithuania, we made a proposal in NATO to establish an air defence rotation model, similarly to the Baltic Air Policing mission currently in place. Therefore, hopefully subsequent rotations in cooperation with Allies will also become possible,” added minister Pevkur.
“It is also very important that thanks to the deployment of the NASAMS unit in Estonia, we will learn the tactical specifics of a medium-range air defence system. In addition, it will give our Defence Forces and Air Force the experience of integrating a medium-range air defence system with other defence systems,” said Pevkur.
The objective of the NASAMS unit in Estonia will be the defence of the Ämari Air Base, a strategic object. The unit is combat-ready and will be deployed to Estonia on the command of the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). A similar unit has been deployed to Latvia, the two systems will be linked and will be part of NATO’s Eastern flank air and missile defence.
The procurement of Estonia’s own medium-range air defence system is in the final stages, and the aim is to finalise a contract before summer.
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Photo: Minister of Defence of Estonia Hanno Pevkur and Minister of Defence of Spain Margarita Robles