The Estonian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the deployment of a Spanish National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) to Estonia later this year.

The announcement comes after recent discussions between Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur and his Spanish counterpart Margarita Robles.

The two officials were present in Brussels for the Nato defence ministers meeting on 14 February.

According to the Estonian MoD, Robles agreed to deploy the NASAMS air defence system in Estonia, starting from April, until August this year.

During this four-month deployment, the Spanish NASAMS unit will operate and be combat-ready to safeguard the strategic site Ämari Air Base in the north of Estonia.

Deployment of this unit is being carried out under the command of Nato’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

Another combat ready NASAMS unit has been stationed in Latvia which, together with the unit deployed in Estonia, will be linked to form a critical part of Nato’s eastern flank air and missile defence. 

The Estonian MoD stated that the country’s own medium-range air defence system is currently in the final stage of procurement and an associated contract is expected to be finalised by summer this year.

Pevkur said: “The Eastern flank of Nato has grown its muscle significantly over the past year.

“This is a short-term solution; however, we are already preparing a more sustainable solution. To that end, with Latvia and Lithuania, we made a proposal in Nato to establish an air defence rotation model, similarly to Baltic Air Policing mission currently in place.

“Therefore, hopefully subsequent rotations in cooperation with allies will also become possible.”

Estonia and Latvia are jointly procuring medium-range air defence systems. An initial letter of intent for the same was signed in July last year.