Estonia bolsters defense with Polish Piorun MANPADS in first joint procurement with Poland

 09. 01. 2024      Category: Defense & Security

In a significant move to strengthen its air defense capabilities, Estonia has received Polish-made Piorun short-range manportable air defense systems (MANPADS) from the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI). This delivery, valued at €103 million ($113 million), marks a landmark joint defense procurement between Estonia and Poland.

Snímek obrazovky 2024-01-09 v 20.24.20
Picture: Piorun will be used by Estonian Army | MILMAG

The procurement includes 300 Piorun missiles and 100 launchers, fulfilling a contract signed in autumn 2022 with Polish manufacturer Mesko. This agreement comes as Mesko ramps up its production, having increased its output of Piorun missiles from 600 in 2022 to a projected 1,000 in 2023.

The ECDI highlighted the deal's benefits, including rapid delivery and cost-effectiveness relative to the target destruction value. The technical compatibility of Polish weapon systems was a key factor for Estonia, reflecting the shared security concerns in the region.

Designed to engage fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and drones, the Piorun system can target up to eight kilometers away. It has gained recognition for its effectiveness in Ukraine, being lauded as "one of the most successful systems in the Ukrainian war." Its ease of deployment and minimal training requirements for operators add to its operational appeal.

Snímek obrazovky 2024-01-09 v 20.24.52
Picture: Piorun will be used by Estonian Army | MILMAG

Estonia plans to integrate the Piorun system into a specialized wartime unit under the direct command of its division. Lt. Col. Tanel Lelov, head of the air and missile defense section, emphasized the system's proven effectiveness in Ukraine and its role in enhancing Estonia's defensive capabilities, both for frontline and rear areas.

This acquisition is part of Estonia's broader defense strategy, which includes a substantial military aid package for Ukraine. In December 2023, Estonia approved a new €80 million ($88 million) package, bringing its total contribution to Kyiv since 2022 to €500 million ($547 million). This package includes Javelin anti-tank missiles, machine guns, light weaponry ammunition, and other support equipment.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has committed Estonia to allocate 0.25 percent of its GDP to military aid for Ukraine over the next four years, underlining the country's commitment to regional stability and defense cooperation.

Snímek obrazovky 2024-01-09 v 20.24.57
Picture: Piorun will be used by Estonian Army | MILMAG

The Estonian government's decision to invest in the Piorun MANPADS underscores its dedication to bolstering national defense and contributing to collective security efforts in the face of evolving regional threats.

 Author: Rafał Muczyński