By Chris King • 14 February 2023 • 19:44
Image of Spanish NASAMS launcher vehicle.
Credit: Wikipedia - By Outisnn - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8053695
Margarita Robles, Spain’s Minister of Defence, met with her Estonian counterpart, Hanno Pevkur, in Brussels today Tuesday, February 14. They subsequently agreed that the Spanish Armed Forces will deploy a battery of Nasams missiles in the northwest of the country in a new contribution to allied security on the eastern flank.
This action was confirmed by the Estonian Ministry of Defence in a statement, in which it detailed that, in principle, the deployment will take place in April and will last for four months.
Once this new Spanish contribution to NATO forces is completed, it means that Spain will have two missile defence batteries of this type in the Baltic area. A similar one was deployed last summer at an air base in Latvia as part of the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence.
On this occasion, the contingent is also expected to consist of some 85 troops, to complement the same number in the Latvian detachment.
“While Estonia awaits the arrival of its own air defence systems, it is important that allied support is present”, commented Pevkur. He went on to stress: “the need to fill this critical gap in our medium-range air defence capabilities”, on NATO’s eastern flank.
Estonia’s Foreign Minister was: “very pleased that we have reached an agreement with Spain on the deployment of its Nasams medium-range ground-based air defence system”.
According to the Estonian Ministry, this missile battery will provide protection for the Amari Air Base. It is seen as a “strategic target”, as it is one of the bases where allied fighters (including Spanish jets) are deployed on Baltic Air Policing (BAP) missions.
Pevkur added that the unit “is combat ready” and will be deployed under the command of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). The defence system will be interconnected with the one deployed in Latvia, thereby forming part of NATO’s eastern flank air and missile defence, as reported by larazon.es.
“This is a short-term solution, we are already preparing a more sustainable solution”, he added. Pevkur explained that, together with Latvia and Lithuania, “we made a proposal in NATO to establish an air defence rotation model”, similar to that of the air police. He expressed his confidence that “subsequent rotations in cooperation with the allies will also be possible”
The Estonian minister considered that the deployment of the Spanish battery will allow his military to “learn tactical details of a medium-range air defence system and will provide our Defence Forces and Air Force with the experience of integrating a medium-range air defence system with other defence systems”.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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