Estonia completes arms deal worth €138 million ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonia completed the purchase of 44 infantry combat vehicles from the Netherlands on Tuesday. The contract was signed between defense ministers Sven Mikser of Estonia and Jeanine Antoinette Hennis-Plasschaert of the Netherlands at The Hague in a deal that Mikser said last month was 'the largest procurement project ever" for Estonia’s Defense Forces.

The arms purchase will start being delivered in 2016, and cost Estonia 138 million euros. The Combat Vehicle 90 (CV-9035NL) is Swedish-built. Estonia will also get six support vehicles, based on the design of the Leopard tank, in the deal.

"When the vehicles get delivered between 2016-2018, the Scouts Battalion will be relocated from Paldiski to Tapa. In addition, there is a plan to create a practice area in Tapa where soldiers can practice driving and crossing different obstacles," Mikser told "Aktuaalne Kaamera".

The Netherlands will bring 14 infantry fighting vehicles to Estonia in February to practice with the Estonian Scouts Battalion, and will also participate in the Independence Day parade in Narva.

The CV-90 is in the military inventory of the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden. The machines have been in use in Afghanistan.

The purchase also includes toolkits for maintenance, training for the Estonian Defense Forces, and spare parts and ammunition.

Developed specifically for the Nordic sub-arctic climate, it has very good mobility in snow and wetlands, while carrying and supporting between six and eight fully equipped soldiers, depending on the variant.

It is diesel powered, and provides all-round protection against 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds. The basic CV-90 is fitted with a two-man turret, armed with a Bofors 40 mm caliber gun and a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. The CV-90 also carries six 76-mm grenade launchers which are intended for smoke grenades, but can be loaded with a variety of combat grenades.

The vehicles that Estonia is purchasing are used, but still relatively new and have undergone regular maintenance. Production of the CV-90 began in 1993.

This is the largest arms procurement for newly independent Estonia. Until now, the largest procurements were for the man-portable short-range air defense ground-to-air missile system Mistral, which cost 76 million euros, three Sandown-class mine hunters with the price of 51 million euros, and 50 million euros worth of arms and equipment from Israel.

Last month, Estonia bought 80 Javelin missile systems from the United States in a deal worth 40 million euros. The Javelin is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance, primarily used against tanks.



Siim Kallas.

Interview: Siim Kallas on ambitions, Estonian politics, and EU presidency

Following the local elections in October this year, Reform Party founder, former prime minister, EU commissioner, and presidential candidate Siim Kallas took on the job of municipal mayor of Viimsi, a community on the outskirts of Tallinn. In his interview with ERR's Toomas Sildam, Kallas talks about local government, his party, the EU presidency, and perspectives in Estonian politics.

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