WARSAW, Poland — Estonia has signed a contract with the United States to purchase six M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS launchers, joining a rapidly expanding group of Eastern European allies who eye the weapons in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2024, initiating what Tallinn calls “Estonia’s largest ever arms procurement project,” the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI) said in a statement. The deal, signed between the ECDI and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), is worth more than $200 million.
“As part of the contract, in addition to the weapon system, Estonia will also procure ammunition, communications solutions, as well as training, logistics, and life-cycle solutions. The package includes rockets with different effects, ranging from 70 to 300 kilometers,” said Ramil Lipp, the Armament Category Manager at the ECDI.
HIMARS is a long-range, mobile rocket launcher produced by American defense company Lockheed Martin. Ukraine’s use of the U.S.-supplied systems to fight against Russia’s invasion of its territory has encouraged a number of NATO’s Eastern European members to purchase the weapons.
Among others, while Poland is awaiting the delivery of the 20 launchers the nation ordered in 2019, it is already planning to place a second HIMARS order. Last May, Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak signed a letter of request to buy as many as 500 launchers. However, Poland’s subsequent purchase of some 288 K239 Chunmoo multiple-rocket launchers signals the country’s government understands it will unable to acquire as many U.S. systems as it initially planned.
Meanwhile, in addition to Estonia, other Eastern flank allies who aim to purchase HIMARS include the remaining two Baltic States, Lithuania and Latvia.
Last month, the U.S. State Department approved a potential foreign military sale of eight HIMARS launchers with related gear to Lithuania under a deal estimated to be worth $495 million. In July 2022, the Latvian Ministry of Defence said it had sent a letter of request to purchase an undisclosed number of launchers from the United States.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.