The Estonian cabinet today gave a green light to buy 44 CV90 infantry vehicles for the Estonian Defense Forces from the Netherlands, in what is the largest defense procurement project ever for the country.
Defense Minister Sven Mikser and his Dutch counterpart Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert signed a memorandum of joint intent with regard to using the CV90 vehicles, currently used by the Netherland’s armed forces, in the Estonian Defense Forces in October, but today it got the final approval. The contract will be signed on December 9 in Holland.
Previously, the largest Estonian defense procurement projects were the purchase of MBDA-made Mistral missiles for about $84.5 million in 2009, and three Sandown-class milehunter vessels from the UK Royal Navy for about $64 million in 2007.
“It is the largest procurement project ever for the Estonian Defense Forces. The infantry vehicles will take Estonian defense ability to a new level,” Mikser said, but refusing to disclose the cost before the signing of the contract.
The CV90s will enter the service from 2016 and are expected to remain in use for at least 20 years. The vehicles have been used by the Dutch, but are relatively new.
The CV90 infantry vehicle is produced since 1993 by Sweden-based BAE Systems Hägglunds AB and are in service with the Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swiss, Finnish, and Swedish defense forces. It has also seen service in Afghanistan.
The Dutch minister announced during her visit to Estonia in October that defense cooperation between the two countries will be strengthened. Among other things, Dutch troops will take part in the next Estonian Independence Day parade and hold joint exercises with the Scoutsbattalion.
Mikser said that the Netherlands had a clear desire to further strengthen defense cooperation with Estonia. Among other things, the Netherlands is contributing to Baltic Air Policing.
"Such cooperation has such a great political and practical importance – having common armoured vehicles, we can work closely with the Netherlands in maintaining, repairing and training for these vehicles," Mikser said.
Estonian-Dutch defense cooperation has mainly been focused on procurement. Since 2004, Estonia has acquired over 1,100 lightly used and well-maintained trucks and jeeps, some 500 trailers and staff containers and 81 SISU XA-188 armoured personnel carriers. Dutch F-16s have also taken part in Baltic Air Policing.