WARSAW, Poland — Estonia on Wednesday signed a deal to acquire the Piorun weapon, a short-range, man-portable air defense system already on order by Poland.
Estonia’s Centre for Defence Investment and Poland’s state-owned defense company Mesko signed the agreement, which comes about six months after Russia invaded Ukraine. The deal was inked in the presence of Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak and Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur.
“Deliveries of Pioruns to Estonia will begin next year,” Błaszczak said in a statement provided from his ministry. “We are trying to build resilience in the situation in which the world has found itself, in which Ukraine was attacked by Russia.”
Since the war’s outbreak on Feb. 24, the Ukrainian military has operated Piorun MANPADS to shoot down Russian aircraft, drones and missiles. The system can hit targets at an altitude of up to 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) and has a range of up to 6.5 kilometers (4 miles), according to its manufacturer.
Under the deal, Mesko will deliver 100 Piorun gripstocks and 300 missiles to Estonia, according to the Polish statement. The system is an upgraded version of the Grom MANPAD.
Training on the Piorun for Estonian forces is expected to begin in 2023, followed by first deliveries in the second half of that year.
The contract, Pevkur said in a statement, “is a leap forward for the Estonian short-range air defence capability, which in turn is an upgrade for Estonian self-defence capability as a whole. In addition, this procurement is also a landmark for our defence cooperation, both in terms of strengthening regional security as well as bilateral cooperation.”
Estonia allocated €103 million (U.S. $102 million) to boost its air defense capacities, according to the Estonian statement.
In June, Poland’s Defence Ministry placed an order with Mesko to acquire 600 Piorun gripstocks and 3,500 missiles under a deal worth about 3.5 billion zloty (U.S. $735.8 million). Mesko said deliveries to the Polish military are to begin this year.
The company specializes in making missile systems and ammunition, and is a subsidiary of Poland’s state-run defense group PGZ.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.