Estonia purchases six HIMARS multiple rocket launcher systems from USA

On Friday, Magnus-Valdemar Saar, Director General of the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI), signed a contract with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) for the procurement of the HIMARS multiple rocket launcher systems, which is an important capacity boost in the development of Estonia’s indirect fire capability. Weapon systems are purchasing from United States of America and the manufacturer of the weapon system is Lockheed Martin. The total value of the contract is more than 200 million dollars.

‘In order to achieve Estonia’s defence objectives, we are daily engaged in the renewal of the armaments and ammunition of our Defence Forces. We are pleased that, in cooperation with our allies, we are able to ensure that the operational capabilities of the new multiple rocket launchers are compatible with those of the US and other allies,’ Magnus-Valdemar Saar, Director General of the ECDI, noted.

This is Estonia’s largest ever arms procurement project. ‘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 kilometres,’ Ramil Lipp, the Armament Category Manager of the ECDI, added.

Director General of the ECDI Mr Magnus-Valdemar Saar (left), Mr James A. Hursch (Director of Defence Security Cooperation Agency) at the signing ceremony.

‘The HIMARS multiple rocket launchers are a new important step in the development of Estonia’s defence capabilities. This makes it possible to decisively influence the enemy even before coming into contact with our infantry units. It is a standard system in NATO, which enables all-round cooperation with other NATO allies, and fits well into the overall NATO joint fire support network,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kaarel Mäesalu, head of the capability development department, Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces.

In addition to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will also procure the HIMARS multiple rocket launcher system. The US has provided Ukraine with HIMARS multiple rocket launcher systems, which have helped to destroy Russian military ammunition warehouses, transport nodes, and command and control centres with pinpoint accuracy beyond the range of the howitzers Ukraine has been using.

The funding is part of a massive security package that the US has channelled to strengthen the defence capacity of Ukraine and NATO’s eastern alliance countries. The US has supported various defence developments in Estonia, with 228 million dollars in financial support for various procurement and infrastructure projects over the past five years. In the past, security assistance has been used to replenish stocks of large calibre ammunition.

The first deliveries will take place in 2024.

The Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI), established in 2017, is a governmental agency for the acquisition of infrastructure and materials in the area of government of the Estonian Ministry of Defence. The purpose of the ECDI is to allow the Defence Forces to focus on their core military tasks and to maximise the defence capability created for every euro invested. The ECDI organises procurements for the Estonian Ministry of Defence, the Defence Forces of Estonia, and other agencies in the field of defence, as well as manages and develops their immovable property. From 2022 onwards, the agency will prepare national defence tasks and determine duty to grant use for all things related to national defence tasks. In order to develop national defence, products and services are annually purchased for more than EUR 350 million, and the infrastructure is maintained in the amount of more than EUR 70 million.

More information:
Estonian Centre for Defence Investment
Head of Communications
Hanna Heinnurm
[email protected]