Estonia increases defense spending to buy air defense systems, more weapons. The Defence Ministry of Estonia has approved a €476 million ($523 mln) defense spending hike, the majority of which is for short- to mid-range air defense systems.
The additional funds will raise the country’s “defense spending over 2.5% of [the country’s] GDP,” the Defence Ministry said in official Twitter account. It’s a goal of NATO for its members to spend at least 2% of their respective gross domestic product on defense. Estonia aims to acquire the new weapon systems no later than 2025.
In October 2021, Estonian Defence Minister Kalle Laanet told 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.