The United States delivered nearly 100 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) to its partner and NATO ally Estonia on July 24.
The $19 million case was Congressionally funded and executed as a DOD Building Partner Capacity (BPC) program in support of U.S. foreign policy and European Command (EUCOM) objectives.
David Anderson, a central case manager within the EUCOM branch at the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, called BPC programs, and this case in particular, critical to U.S. national security objectives.
“Not only does it greatly increase Estonia’s defensive capabilities, it also strengthens the NATO alliance and interoperability between alliance partners, and helps stabilize that region of the world,” he explained.
Anderson has been executing foreign military sales cases at USASAC’s New Cumberland, Pennsylvania-based operation for four and a half years. He said the missile delivery is just the latest in multiple, ongoing BPC programs with Estonia, including the delivery of unmanned aircraft systems, ammunition and high frequency radios, and training instruction.
The United States has provided more than $100 million in overall security assistance to Estonia over the last several years, and conducts nearly 150 military-to-military engagements annually with over 60 of those taking place with U.S. personnel in Estonia.
During a 2019 visit to Estonia, then-USASAC Commander Maj. Gen. Jeff Drushal called Estonia a “valued NATO ally and essential defense partner.
“USASAC is dedicated to supporting Estonia with its defense investments and procurement of U.S. military equipment. This will further the Estonian Defense Forces’ interoperability with NATO, and through the acquisition of modern defense capabilities, their ability to protect Estonia’s national sovereignty. It is apparent that Estonia is a capable ally that is strongly committed to investing in its defense needs.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. delivered 128 Raytheon Javelin ATGMs to the Estonian Ministry of Defense and Estonian Defense Forces. This delivery was part of a larger contract signed by the Estonian Center for Defense Investment and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and an on-going cooperative effort involving joint financing from the U.S. Department of State and Estonian national funds.
Estonian SPIKE LR ATGM Procurement:
In 2019, the Estonian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a €40 million (approx. $45 million) framework agreement with Eurospike for the supply of Israeli SPIKE LR ATGMs. The weapons will be delivered to the Estonian Defense Forces beginning in the third quarter of 2020 and will be used by infantry brigade anti-tank companies.
FGM-148 Javelin is an American man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) fielded to replace the M47 Dragon anti-tank missile in U.S. service.
The system uses automatic infrared (IR) guidance that allows the user to seek cover immediately after launch, as opposed to wire-guided systems, like the Dragon, where the user has to actively guide the weapon throughout the engagement.
The Javelin’s HEAT (high-explosive anti-tank) warhead is capable of defeating modern tanks by attacking them from above where their armor is thinnest and is also useful against fortifications in a direct attack flight.
As of January 2019, over 5,000 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles have been fired in combat.