Home Europe NATO opens first MAWI multinational ammo warehouse in Estonia

NATO opens first MAWI multinational ammo warehouse in Estonia

Belgian Spike missile firing
Belgium will preposition Spike missiles at the MAWI site in Estonia. Photo: Belgium defense ministry

The heads of defense of Belgium and Estonia have formally opened the first Multinational Ammunition Warehousing Initiative (MAWI) location in Estonia that will be used to store munitions as a way of addressing logistical challenges countries face on NATO deployments.

The first of three planned MAWI sites was opened in a ceremony on March 23. In a first step, Belgium – which initiated work on creating the permanent MAWI stockpiling solution – will be pre-positioning its SPIKE Long Range (LR) anti-tank missiles at the site.

Other allies are also expected to use the warehouse for storing their munitions in the context of their enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) contributions.

According to NATO, the MAWI location in Estonia will save resources and prevent logistical problems by eliminating the need for unnecessarily rotating munitions stockpiles in conjunction with the various deployment cycles.

The long-term ambition is that the MAWI high-visibility project will change the way NATO allies and partners go about the storing and distribution of munition stockpiles. This will free up resources for other defense purposes.

As pointed out by the Belgian defense ministry, work is also underway on establishing a non-operational, permanent MAWI repository to achieve economies of scale and streamline operations based roughly on the same principles that Amazon is successfully applying in the private sector through its network of “fulfillment centers.” This MAWI location is expected to become operational in Belgium in the course of 2022.