New missiles, new military Chief
Archived Articles 15 Dec 2006 Adu RaudkiviEWR
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On December 6 The Baltic Times wrote that Estonia will acquire a whole range of equipment ranging from air defense missile system to fighter jets for 700 million kroons (44.7 euros). The fighter jets might cost considerably more.
"For the first time we are going to procure a modern air defense capacity, a mobile radar and communication system. This is an effective deterrent to attackers and defense for the future infantry brigade," said Defense Minister Jürgen Ligi.
The General Secretary of NATO said that the Baltic states will not be asked to provide fighter jets because the cost would be prohibitive, when he visited before the NATO General Summit meeting in November, in Riga, Latvia. He said the Baltic States will perform other functions for NATO.
There was a rumour going around, this year, that the prime minister of Estonia was negotiating with SAAB over the purchase (or lease) of two Grippen supersonic fighter jets.
A defense ministry spokesman said the cost will be settled exactly with MDBA Missile Systems Group, which won the tendering process against US firm Raytheon, that started in August 2005.
MDBA is Europe's largest producer of missiles and is the amalgamation of the missile business of Britain's BAE and Europe's EADS. 
The system will consist of missiles, communications, command and control systems and radars. It will also provide air defense to an infantry brigade. The system will be delivered between 2007-2008 and be fully operational in 2009.
The announcement of the purchase came at same week the new Chief of Military Staff, Major-General Ants Laaneots was appointed. He started with a bang.
"Russia continues to be the biggest security threat to Estonia," said Laaneots in an interview with Eesti Päevaleht which was carried by Agence France Presse. He added, "to put it mildly, we have an unfriendly country as our neighbour. Russia is really our biggest security problem."
"We are a border state of NATO and the EU, whose security situation cannot be compared to that of Belgium or Denmark," said Laaneots.
Laaneots started his military career in the Soviet Army and was one of the founders of the Estonian Defense Forces in 1991.
General Laaneots explained in detail why Estonia is spending the money it has to, to survive.

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