HELSINKI ( Associated Press) — Estonia, a NATO member and neighbor of Russia, is boosting its defense capabilities with the acquisition of an advanced U.S. artillery rocket launch system, the Baltic country’s largest arms acquisition project in the world, defense officials said Saturday. Said to
The deal signed on Friday for the sale of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is worth more than $200 million and includes equipment such as ammunition and rockets, as well as training.
The package includes rockets with a range of 70 to 300 kilometers (43 to 186 miles), the Estonian Defense Investment Center said in a statement. US aerospace firm Lockheed Martin Corp is expected to make the first delivery in 2024. Estonian officials did not disclose the number of rocket launchers, but local media said the purchase included six Himars systems.
“The HIMARS multiple rocket launcher is a new important step in the development of Estonian defense capabilities,” Lt. Col. Karel Meuslu, head of the Estonian Defense Force Capabilities Development Department, said in a statement. “This makes it possible to decisively influence the enemy even before it comes into contact with our infantry units.”
Estonia’s Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania have or are in the process of receiving HIMARS of their own.
Washington has already provided rocket launchers to Ukraine to help it deal with Russian aggression in the country. Estonia’s defense ministry said the HIMARS system “helped destroy Russian military ammunition warehouses, transport nodes and command and control centers, which are beyond the range of Ukraine’s howitzers.”