Saturday, September 30, 2023

Latvia and Estonia to Procure IRIS-T SLM Air Defense Systems from Germany

Latvia and Estonia have agreed with Germany to procure IRIS-T SLM Air Defense Systems. Both countries also signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with the German Minister of Defence, Boris Pistorius, on their future participation in the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI).

Diehl Defence said in its press release that, the procurement process for medium-range ground-based air defense systems is led by the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI). Magnus-Valdemar Saar, the Director General of ECDI, stated: “The procurement was conducted at a record pace in a fiercely competitive environment, allowing us to deliver the required capability with the shortest possible lead time and at a very affordable price. This process involved Estonian and Latvian organizations joining forces in complex requirements development, rigorous evaluations, and negotiations. It must now be followed by meticulous project management to ensure the first systems are delivered and operational in 2025.”

“Estonia’s national defense has reached a new milestone with this contract,” Estonian Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur said, adding that, “Russia’s barbarous war in Ukraine has shown that air defense is critical for protecting the population, armed forces and vital infrastructure from enemy air strikes.”

This joint purchase of IRIS-T medium-range ground-based air defense system is a bold move by both Baltic states to improve overall air defense environment. European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) is a strategic project aiming to provide a ground-based air defense capability to European states. Initiated by Germany, 17 European states have now joined this project.

IRIS-T SLM is designed for the countering of threats posed by enemy aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and drones at a range of up to 40 km and an altitude of up to 20 km. An IRIS-T SLM fire unit consists of the components missile launcher, radar and tactical operations center.

Umair Aslam
Umair Aslam is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Defense Insight. He has worked as a defense journalist reporting on military modernization programs, nuclear non-proliferation, arms control, and the South Asian Arms race.

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