The Estonian Center for Defense Investment has signed a contract on the purchase of short range air defense systems from the French armaments manufacturer MBDA France, planning to buy 50 million euros’ worth of missiles and training equipment.
The director of the Center for Defense Investment, Col. Rauno Sirk, and MBDA France vice president Didier Philippe signed the contract on the purchase of Mistral short range missiles and training equipment at the Eurosatory defense fair in Paris on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the center said.
According to the contract, the center will buy 50 million euros’ worth of Mistral missiles and equipment over the 2020-2027 period. In addition, the framework agreement allows the country to buy additionally anti-aircraft missiles for 100 million euros.
“Procurement of ammunition is one of our top priorities next to the soon-to-be completed procurement of new automatic firearms and self-propelled howitzers, and a critical investment in actual defense readiness,” Sirk said.
Mistral is a “fire and forget” anti-aircraft missile system guided by infrared homing with an effective range of up to six kilometers.
Under the contract Estonia will continue to purchase Mistral M3 missiles that have better precision and a longer life-span than older types. “Estonia was the first foreign country to deploy new type Mistral missiles. They are technologically advanced, a more precise guidance system and electronics help distinguish intended targets from wrong ones, and they are practically maintenance-free,” Sirk said.
Estonia placed its first order for Mistral missiles in 2007 and they were added to the defense forces’ arsenal in 2009. The country is currently buying Mistral missiles under a contract concluded with MBDA in 2015.
According to the Defense Ministry’s plans, more than 200 million euros will be invested in ammunition in 2018-2022.