Aerial Warfare

Estonia to Buy Mesko PPZR Piorun Man-portable Air-defense System (MANPADS)

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Estonia to Buy Mesko PPZR Piorun Man-portable Air-defense System (MANPADS)

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Estonia to Buy Mesko PPZR Piorun Man-portable Air-defense System (MANPADS)
Estonia to Buy Mesko PPZR Piorun Man-portable Air-defense System (MANPADS)

Estonia’s Centre for Defence Investment and Poland’s state-owned defense company Mesko signed the agreement to acquire the Piorun weapon, a short-range, man-portable air defense system already on order by Poland. The deal was inked in the presence of Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak and Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur. Under the deal, Mesko will deliver 100 Piorun gripstocks and 300 missiles to Estonia. Training on the Piorun for Estonian forces is expected to begin in 2023, followed by first deliveries in the second half of that year. Estonia allocated €103 million (U.S. $102 million) to boost its air defense capacities.

The deal was inked in the presence of Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak and Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur.
The deal was inked in the presence of Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak and Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur. (Photo by Mesko)

The PPZR Piorun (Przenosny Przeciwlotniczy Zestaw Rakietowy Piorun) is a man-portable air-defense system of Polish production, designed to destroy low-flying aircraft, airplanes, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. The Piorun is produced by the Mesko company and was created as a result of the GROM system modernization carried out in 2010–15. The set is a deep modernization of the PPZR Grom set, therefore the second designation of the missile is Grom-M. The missiles are used not only by Poprad, but also by PSR-A Pilica. PSR-A Pilica is a Polish Very Short Range Air Defense (VSHORAD) anti-aircraft missile and artillery system.

At least 1,300 Piorun missiles were delivered. Another order of 3,500 missiles alongside 600 MANPAD launchers is to be delivered in 2022.
At least 1,300 Piorun missiles were delivered. Another order of 3,500 missiles alongside 600 MANPAD launchers is to be delivered in 2022. (Photo by Mesko)

The PPZR Piorun is able to target and hit the target, increased resistance to interference was obtained, a proximity fuze was used, an access authorization system and the set for fire was adapted in night conditions. The missile has a fuse equipped with a proximity sensor, which allows for destroying the target in case of its close passing. Missile set has a new starting mechanism, that allows among others selection of: pursuit-collision mode, target type, weather conditions, performs Friend or Foe inquiry, communicates with optical and thermal imaging sights, can be equipped with an authorization system.

 Russian Mil Mi-24 Hind Gunship Helicopter shot down with a Piorun short-range, man-portable air defense system.
Russian Mil Mi-24 Hind Gunship Helicopter shot down with a Piorun short-range, man-portable air defense system.(Photo by Mesko)

In 2016, the Ministry of National Defence signed a contract for the purchase of 420 launchers (launch mechanisms) and 1,300 rockets for the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland, planned for 2017–2020 delivery. In 2020, Piorun missiles were fired from Poprad self-propelled anti-aircraft missile systems. In 2022, Poland announced the rapid supply of Ukraine with Pioruns during the 2021–2022 Russo-Ukrainian crisis. During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Armed Forces of Ukraine alleged that a number of Russian jet fighters (Su-34, Su-25) and helicopters (Mi-24, Ka-52) were shot down with the Piorun missiles.

Single fire unit of the Pilica system on a Jelcz 442.32 transport vehicle.
Single fire unit of the Pilica system on a Jelcz 442.32 transport vehicle.(Photo by Mesko)

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