Home Europe Estonia signs contract with Israel for long-range loitering munitions

Estonia signs contract with Israel for long-range loitering munitions

Photo: Israel Aerospace Industry

Estonia recently inked its most expensive defense deal yet with Israel Aerospace Industries for the procurement of long-range loitering munitions.

The contract is aimed at improving the country’s defense capabilities and bolstering its indirect fire power.

In the near future, Estonia will possess a range of long-distance capabilities to effectively engage its adversaries, including extended range artillery ammunition, anti-ship missiles, and multiple launch rocket systems.

In the spring of 2022, market research for the acquisition of long-range loitering munitions commenced, with an initial survey of companies based in the USA, Turkey, South Korea, Poland, Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom, and Estonia.

Estonia’s procurement was predominantly geared towards acquiring advanced long-range offensive capabilities, with a particular focus on precision, munition resilience, and the ability to execute simultaneous wide-ranging offensives.

Currently, the Estonian defense forces’ indirect fire power is derived from a combination of mortar systems in its maneuver units and self-propelled howitzers in divisional units, but by 2024-2025, the Forces will be expanding their indirect fire capability to include the deployment of multiple rocket launchers and long-range loitering munitions units.

Ramil Lipp, armament category manager of the ECDI, said “The market for long-range loitering munitions is currently turbulent. Recent conflicts such as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the ongoing war in Ukraine have demonstrated the high effectiveness of this type of offensive weapon, leading to the development of such systems by several countries, with new players expected to enter the market soon. The future of this market will certainly involve intense competition, and the coming years will reveal where these systems will further evolve. Currently, we have made orders for long-range weapons which we cannot disclose the exact specifications of, but in the future, we plan to acquire similar weapons with different technical capabilities and for firing at different ranges,”

“Estonia is a strategic partner for IAI. This award reflects the growing trust and relations between Estonia and our company.,” said IAI’s president and CEO Boaz Levi.

According to Levi, IAI’s loitering munitions offer a flexibility and responsiveness in deploying firepower, allowing for detection and action against the enemy based on real-time information gathered by the munitions themselves.

The first shipments are anticipated to arrive in 2024, and the Defence Forces will receive the training to ensure prompt deployment and immediate use of the systems upon arrival.