Estonia confirms the purchase of six US HIMARS rocket launchers and ammunition

On December 2, 2022, the Director General of the Estonian State Defense Investment Center Magnus-Waldemar Saar signed an agreement with the US Defense and Security Cooperation Agency for the purchase of six American-made M142 HIMARS (MLRS) Multiple Launch Rocket Systems with ammunition including rockets and missiles.
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A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System of the 1-14th Field Artillery Field Artillery Battalion moves from the firing point during a live fire exercise in the Middle East. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

On July 15, 2022, the U.S. State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Estonia of M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) and related equipment for an estimated cost of up to $500 million.

The Government of Estonia requested the United States to purchase up to six M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) Launchers as well as up to thirty-six (36) M30A2 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead (AW) Missile Pods with Insensitive Munitions Propulsion System (IMPS) and Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave – Directional Doppler Ranging (FMCW-DDR) Proximity Height-of-Burst (HOB) Sensor Capability; up to thirty-six (36) M31A2 GMLRS Unitary High Explosive (HE) Missile Pods with IMPS and FMCW-DDR Proximity HOB Sensor Capability; up to thirty-six (36) XM403 Extended Range GMLRS (ER GMLRS) Alternative Warhead (AW) Missile Pods with IMPS and Side Mounted Proximity Sensor (SMPS) HOB Capability; up to thirty-six (36) XM404 Extended Range GMLRS (ER GMLRS) Unitary Pods with IMPS and SMPS HOB Capability; and up to eighteen (18) M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) Missile Pods.

Citing information from the Estonian newspaper website, this is the largest defense contract for Estonia with a total value of more than $200 million. The first delivery is expected for 2024. A total of six HIMARS rocket launcher vehicles could be delivered to Estonia.

Other Baltic States also plan to acquire American M142 HIMARS including Latvia and Lithuania.

Following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army, the United States delivered 16 HIMARS to Ukraine which has demonstrated its high level of effectiveness against the old Soviet-made MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) which was already in service within the Ukrainian armed forces.

The HIMARS M142 is an American-made MLRS designed and manufactured by the company Lockheed Martin. The artillery system is based on a 6x6 chassis of the medium tactical vehicles (FMTV) all-wheel-drive 5t truck. The rocket/missile launcher system is mounted at the rear of the truck chassis.

The M142 HIMARS carries a single six-pack of rockets on the army's family of medium tactical vehicles (FMTV) 6x6. The HIMARS can fire the standard MLRS round, but also the entire MLRS family of munitions, including the extended-range rocket, the reduced-range practice rocket, and all future variants. It can also fire the extended-range guided rocket GMLRS, with a range of more than 70 km. It is also capable to fire a TACMS Tactical Missile with a maximum range of 300 km.