TALLINN - The Estonian Ministry of Defense is preparing to include a financing decision for the purchase of medium-range air defense systems in the agenda for Thursday's meeting of the government, spokespeople for the ministry said.
The decision that Estonia will have medium-range air defense capability by 2025 at the latest was made by the Reform Party and Center Party government back in March. The Ministry of Defense was given four months to present possible purchase options to the government.
At the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June, the then Estonian minister of defense Kalle Laanet and his Latvian counterpart Artis Pabriks agreed that medium-range air defense is to be acquired jointly and that the joint procurement will be led by Estonian Center for Defense Investment (RKIK).
A joint purchase will enable to cross-use the systems and to swap or borrow their components.
Postimees reported at the end of July that in four months, RKIK has essentially made all the necessary preparations for the procurement and is ready to announce it tomorrow, if necessary. In order to do this, the government must officially allocate necessary funds.
So far, the adoption of the formal decision has been prevented by the holiday period, as it has been seen as appropriate that both Finance Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas should be present when such a large-scale investment is decided upon.
In the spring, the amount to be allocated for medium-range air defense was estimated at 350 million euros. However, the new minister of defense, Hanno Pevkur, has refused to be specific on the potential amount in order for it to be possible to get the most favorable offers and terms and conditions in the procurement.