Latvia and Estonia team up to buy future air defense systems

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June 30 saw Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks and Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet signing a letter of intent regarding the future purchase of medium-range air defense systems during the NATO Madrid summit.

"Russia's aggression in Ukraine clearly shows the need for air defense systems. Once again, many thanks to Spain, which has currently deployed exactly such systems in Latvia, while we are working on developing our capabilities. I am glad that we will implement this project together with Estonia, thereby strengthening our regional cooperation and common defense," said Pabriks.

"The NATO summit has given a clear signal that those who are ready to invest in defense themselves will be helped. Estonia is a reliable ally and certainly one of those countries that will give their best," said Laanet, acknowledging that it is important that Estonia, in addition to the support offered by its allies, is ready to contribute to its own air defense.

The letter of intent will serve as the basis for concluding a joint procurement agreement, the Latvian Ministry of Defense said, adding that "work on the introduction of a medium-range air defense system in Latvia is starting immediately... Also, it cannot be ruled out that other allies could also be involved in the purchase of air defense systems."

As previously reported by LSM, in order to strengthen Latvia's anti-aircraft defense, on June 26, a NASAMS battery of surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles supplied by Spain was deployed at the Air Force Base of the National Armed Forces in Lielvārde.

According to ERR News, the Estonian Center for Defense Investment (RKK) will manage the joint procurement under the guidance and advice from the chiefs of defense of both countries. Which of the available systems might make up the procurement has yet to be decided.

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