Estonia and Latvia look to purchase mid-range air defence from Germany

International Aviation Show "Defence and Support" in Berlin

VILNIUS (Reuters) - European Union and NATO members Estonia and Latvia will begin negotiations with Germany's Diehl Defence for the purchase of a medium-range air defence system, Estonia's Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

The cost of the Iris-T SLM air defence system and additional capabilities such as infrastructure, personnel, training, equipment, will be determined at the negotiations, which could be concluded during the summer, it added.

“Our objective is to ensure operational medium-range air defence capabilities for Estonia by 2025, which means that the first systems should arrive in 2024,” Estonia's Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur said.

The purchase will be led by Estonia Centre for Defence Investment.

Last October, Estonia and Latvia were among 14 European NATO partners to sign a letter of intent to jointly procure air defence systems as Russia's war in Ukraine highlighted shortages.

(Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)