The heads of the Ministry of Defense of Estonia and Latvia Hanno Pevkur and Inara Murniece signed a document of intent to join the European air defense system “European Sky Shield” (ESSI) on Monday in Germany.
The ceremony, held in the Bavarian city of Rethenbach, where the German arms company Diehl Defense, which produces IRIS-T air defense systems, is located, was also attended by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.
“Today is a very important day in Rethenbach. The letter of intent signed today will ensure the supply of IRIS-T SLM as part of our common air defense. Our partners Estonia and Latvia have taken this important step and want to purchase this equipment,” Pistorius said at a joint press conference .
The European Sky Shield initiative was launched by Germany in August 2022 and currently brings together 19 countries, including NATO members the UK, Slovakia, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Estonia and Norway. In February 2023, Sweden, a NATO candidate country, and Denmark also joined the project. In July, Switzerland and Austria joined the European Sky Shield air defense system.