Defense minister: In developing armored capability, Estonia's military threat profile taken into account (4)
Speaking at an event where the first batch of CV9035 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) delivered to Estonia from the Netherlands in accordance with the former's national defense development plan were presented, Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso said that when developing its armored capability, Estonia had taken into account the region's military threat profile, among other factors.
Guests at the event on Wednesday included Dutch Ambassador Karen van Stegeren, Deputy Commander of the Defence Forces Brig. Gen. Indrek Sirel as well as leaders of nearby municipalities.
"The creation of armored maneuver capabilities has been prepared for years," said Hanso. "In this, the military threat profile, outcomes of war games, capability gaps, specifics of Estonia's terrain, existing weapons as well as the volumes and timeframes of other acquisitions have been taken into account." The defense minister added that it was the will of the people and the political consensus to contribute more than two percent of the nation's GDP to national defense enabled them to take this significant step in the development of Estonia's defense forces.
The first batch of the armored equipment bought by Estonia from the Netherlands, consisting of 12 CV9035 IFVs and one armored recovery vehicle (ARV) built on the chassis of a Leopard 1 tank, arrived in Estonia last Friday morning. The vehicles are stationed at the compound of the 1st Infantry Brigade at Tapa Army Base, where instructors of the armored force training unit trained in the Netherlands and Finland will begin training mechanics later this month and crew members in January.
"The modern IFVs wisely acquired from the Netherlands have great maneuverability on terrain, a high level of armor protection and impressive firepower, being pieces of high-tech equipment capable of fighting alongside the tanks of our allies," explained the Estonian defense minister.
The CV9035, manufactured by BAE Systems Hägglunds AB of Sweden, is powered by a 600-kilowatt Scania V8 diesel engine and armed with a 35 mm Bushmaster III gun with an effective range of four kilometers and a rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute. Its secondary armament consists of a 7.62 mm machine gun and 10 launchers for grenades and smoke grenades.
The CV9035s will become a part of the armaments of Estonia's professional Scouts Battalion, replacing its SISU XA-188 wheeled IFVs and turning the motorized unit into a mechanized one.
In late 2014, Estonia signed a contract with the Netherlands for the purchase of 44 CV9035NL IFVs and six Leopard 1 tank-based support vehicles in a procurement worth 113 million euros. The vehicles are slated for delivery to Estonia between 2016-2018.
In addition to the Dutch IFVs, Estonia also spent 635,000 euros on the purchase of a total of 37 IFV CV90 bodies from Norway to be rebuilt as armored support vehicles; most of these units have already been delivered.