Estonia, Latvia to Buy Germany’s IRIS-T Mid-Range Air Defence Systems

  • Bureau
  • 02:24 PM, May 22, 2023
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Estonia, Latvia to Buy Germany’s IRIS-T Mid-Range Air Defence Systems
Iris-T SLM air defence system @Diehl Defence

NATO member states Estonia and Latvia will open negotiations with Germany’s Diehl Defence for the acquisition of medium-range air defence systems.

Estonia’s defence ministry confirmed the plan in an official statement Sunday.

“I am very happy that together with Latvia we have reached the next milestone in our joint procurement for medium range air defence. This has been a joint project of historical proportions for our defence cooperation, the largest one to date,” said Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur.

“Presuming that negotiations are successful, we hope to reach contract and, subsequently, announce the official winning bidder this summer,” said minister Pevkur.

Estonia and Latvia signed a Letter of Intent for the joint procurement of medium-range air defence in June 2022, at the NATO Summit in Madrid. The process has been led by the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (RKIK), which entered into agreement with the Ministry of Defence of Estonia for the joint procurement last July.

“Our objective is to ensure operational medium-range air defence capabilities for Estonia by 2025, which means that the first systems should arrive in 2024,” said Pevkur.

The Estonian Government allocated funds for procuring medium-range air defence capabilities during the 2022 budgetary negotiations.

The Estonian Centre of Defence Investment (RKIK) carried out thorough market research for potential bidders and looked at six international companies. The bids went through a thorough analysis.

“For selecting the winning bidder, we looked at evaluation criteria such as the technical capacity of the system, the total cost of the system, the life cycle cost for the coming 30 years, the delivery time and the involvement of the local industry, so that Estonian and Latvian industry could also make a contribution towards the capacity development,” said Priit Soosaar, head of the communications and radar category at RKIK.

The final cost of the investment will be determined during contract negotiations. The capability includes the medium-range air defence system, but also the infrastructure, personnel, training, equipment and other related costs.

Medium-range air defence systems are effective for neutralising both planes and helicopters, as well as a host of other threats, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and loitering munitions.

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