Piorun is an air defence weapon system developed by Polish defence company Mesko (subsidiary of Polish state-owned defence group PGZ) and introduced into service in 2019. It is capable of hitting targets up to eight kilometres away and allows units to operate around the clock. The system is in use both in Poland and Ukraine, where it has proven its reliability, being one of the most successful weapon systems in the Ukrainian war.
In addition to battlefield effectiveness, these air defence systems are much easier to deploy, and operation is manageable after just a few hours of training. The system will be used by a separate war-time unit of the Estonian Defence Forces, which operates under the direct command of the division and is trained based on reservists.
“Piorun air defence missiles provide additional air defence not only to maneuver units but also to objects that are not in the immediate vicinity of the front line but are located further in the rear, yet are important from the perspective of Estonia’s defence,” said Lieutenant Colonel Tanel Lelov, Head of the Air and Missile Defence Section of the Estonian Division. “In Ukraine, these missiles have proven to be effective against most airborne attack means, and certainly, the principles of their use there will be taken into account in training and employing Estonian units,” he added.
This is the first joint defence procurement between Estonia and Poland, with the advantages of quick delivery and a relatively low cost compared to the value of the destroyed target. The technical compatibility of Polish weapon systems, crucial for the security of our region, was also a decisive factor.
The framework agreement was signed between ECDI and the Polish defence technology company Mesko in the autumn of 2022, with deliveries of the weapon system to Estonia beginning at the turn of the year. “Despite the general security situation, high demand, and component shortages, Mesko has been able to fulfil its contractual obligations, and deliveries have been timely, showing the utmost commitment of the Polish state and our contracting partner,” commented Ramil Lipp, Strategic Category Manager (Armaments) at ECDI.
The development of short-range air defence capabilities cost a total of 103 million euros, including VAT, with the Government of the Republic of Estonia allocating the sum from Estonia’s military defence reinforcement package.