Meeting at the sidelines of the NATO defence ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Minister of Defence of Estonia Hanno Pevkur and Minister of Defence of Spain Margarita Robles agreed that Spain will deploy a NASAMS air defence system to Estonia in April 2023 for a period of four months. The objective of the NASAMS unit in Estonia will be the defence of the Amari Air Base, a strategic object. The unit is combat-ready and will be deployed to Estonia on the command of the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). A similar unit has been deployed to Latvia, the two systems will be linked and will be part of NATO’s Eastern flank air and missile defence.
Minister of Defence Pevkur said, “The Eastern flank of NATO has grown its muscle significantly over the past year. Considering the need to fill this critical gap in our medium-range air defence capabilities, I am very glad that we reached an agreement with Spain on the deployment of their NASAMS medium-range ground based air defence system for four months, starting this April. This is a short-term solution, however, we are already preparing a more sustainable solution. To that end, with Latvia and Lithuania, we made a proposal in NATO to establish an air defence rotation model, similarly to the Baltic Air Policing mission currently in place.”
NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, also known as the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System) is a distributed and networked short- to medium-range? ground-based air defense system developed by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) and Raytheon. The system defends against unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), helicopters, cruise missiles, unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), and fixed wing aircraft,? firing any of a wide range of existing missiles. NASAMS was the first application of a surface-launched AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile).
In 2022, Latvia and Estonia signed a letter of intent on a joint purchase of medium-range air defense systems. Latvia was to work on the creation of a medium-range air defense system without delay. The procurement of Estonia’s own medium-range air defence system is in the final stages, and the aim is to finalise a contract before summer. As reported, in response to the need to strengthen the defense capabilities of the Baltic region after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Spanish-supplied ground-to-air anti-aircraft missile NASAMS battery was deployed at the National Air Force Base in Lielvarde on June 26.