Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur and his Latvian counterpart Artis Pabriks have announced plans to jointly procure medium-range air defence (MRAD) systems.   

The move is intended to strengthen Estonian-Latvian cooperation and enhance the region’s defence capabilities.

The two sides also discussed the development of a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to boost their land-based rocket launcher capability.

The ministers also held talks on providing necessary assistance to Ukraine and the implementation of other commitments made during the Nato Summit in Madrid.

In June this year, the Estonian and Latvian defence ministers signed a letter of intent (LoI) at the summit to form a legal framework for the joint procurement of MRAD systems.  

According to the LoI, the joint procurement will be managed by the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment.

The procurement will ensure air defence for the mobilisation of Estonian reserve troops.

Minister Pevkur said: “I hope that the governments of both countries will quickly take the necessary decisions to start the actual purchase process.

“The HIMARS multiple rocket launcher capability development cooperation project is another important priority.”

“We also want to move forward swiftly with the Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania defence cooperation agreement. This will only serve to strengthen the already close cooperation between the three Baltic States,” the minister added.

The meeting also focused on Estonia’s reserve army and the need for a conscription-based model of defence.

Minister Pevkur said Latvia’s plan to return to conscription is a welcome move.

“The defensive will of small countries and the strength of their independent defence capabilities lies in their reserve forces,” he added.