WARSAW, Poland — Estonia has approved a €476 million (U.S. $523 million) defense spending hike, the majority of which is for short- to mid-range air defense systems.
The decision comes amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has served as a catalyst for other Eastern European nations to boost their own air defense capabilities. Estonia aims to acquire the systems no later than 2025.
The additional funds will raise the country’s “defense spending over 2.5% of [the country’s] GDP,” the Defence Ministry said in a March 24 tweet. It’s a goal of NATO for its members to spend at least 2% of their respective gross domestic product on defense.
In October, Estonian Defence Minister Kalle Laanet told Defense News his country planned to purchase a short- to mid-range air defense system similar to the Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System that Estonia’s neighbor Lithuania ordered from Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.
“We would like to start this project in cooperation with the U.S.,” the minister said at the time.
The ministry estimates the acquisition will be worth about €350 million. In addition to the air defense capability, the funds will also enable Estonia to strengthen its “anti-tank, indirect-fire, situational awareness” and host-nation support capabilities, according to the ministry.
Other acquisition plans include multiple launch rocket systems, coastal missile defense systems, and unmanned and cyber defense systems, Laanet said.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.