The Estonian Ministry of Defence's Permanent Secretary Kristjan Prikk has signed a joint technical agreement with Finland and Latvia which enables Estonia to continue its participation in developing a platform for the potential procurement of armoured vehicles.
Prikk said: "With a project which has several parties involved, we have to keep in mind that our primary goal is to develop a platform that meets the requirements of the Estonian Defence Forces with a favourable price.
"We see big potential in this project, especially as we are already involved already in the development phase, which is the best way to ensure we will eventually have equipment that meets our needs."
For Estonia, the development of the platform means the possible replacement of the older generation of Pasi armoured vehicles currently used by the Defense Forces. The decision to replace vehicles is scheduled in the new Estonian National Defense Development Plan.
"It is important for us that international defense cooperation, which has a very clear economic dimension, continues. In the current crisis, it is also crucial that we continue to strengthen our defense capability and, if possible, lay the foundation for creating new jobs or maintaining existing ones in the Estonian defense industry sector," Prikk added.
Within the framework of the agreement, Finland, Latvia and Estonia agreed on common technical requirements for the armoured vehicle's platform to be developed and on the development of a prototype.
Under the agreement, countries are free to choose their future partners for the vehicle maintenance, crew training and spare parts. The Estonian Defense Forces currently have 140 armoured vehicles in their fleet and approximately 100 need to be replaced in the coming years. The first vehicles will come to the end of their lifecycle in 2024.
Editor: Helen Wright