At the margins of the European Union informal defence ministerial, the Minister of Defence of Spain Margarita Robles and the Minister of Defence of Estonia Hanno Pevkur agreed that Spain will extend the NASAMS air defense unit rotation in Estonia. The Spanish NASAMS unit was deployed to Estonia in April this year on the command of the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), similarly to a unit in Latvia, as a part of NATO’s eastern flank air and missile defence. At the Vilnius Summit, the NATO heads of state also agreed on the new Rotational Model for air and missile defence, which similarly to the Air Policing mission will see the rotation of air defence systems at NATO’s eastern flank.
“In September, together with Latvia, we will also be signing a contract for the procurement of our own medium-range air defence systems with the German manufacturer Diehl. Thanks to the presence of the Spanish unit in Estonia, our Defence Forces and Air Force have already had the chance to gain experience in the tactical command of medium-range air defence systems,” explained Minister of Defence Pevkur.
“We are very thankful for the Spanish commitment to NATO’s deterrence and defence posture in Estonia with the deployment of the NASAMS unit and the Air Policing rotation in Ämari. We are glad to hear of the decision to continue the NASAMS unit deployment to Estonia, as it has already provided a valuable cooperation opportunity for the Estonian Defence forces,” said Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur. The Minister of Defence of Spain Margarita Robles will visit the Spanish unit in Estonia next week.
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:?4? 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). NASAMS 2 is an upgraded version of the system capable of using Link 16, which has been operational since 2007.
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 to Estonia and Latvia. 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.