Estonia has suspended plans to create joint armored vehicles with Latvia and Finland after struggling to agree on costs and the role of the Estonian defense industry in the development phase.
The Defense Force currently use Finnish made Pasi armored vehicles but many will need to be replaced in the coming years. As the vehicles are over 30 years old, sourcing spare parts is also difficult.
In April, Estonia, Finland and Latvia signed a technical agreement for the development of a new armored vehicle but Estonia has since refused to enter into an agreement with Finnish vehicle maker Patria.
"First of all, we could not agree on the cost of research and development, the target price of the armor, and we also could not agree on the participation of the Estonian defense industry" said Ivar Janson, head of the armored technology category of the Estonian Defense Investment Center.
Janson said other vehicles are available on the market which meet Estonia's needs and have a similar price point.
Estonia will remain a party in the technical agreement which was signed in April. Joining a future research and development project is not out of the question if the conditions are favorable for Estonia.
President of Patria Jussi Järvinen said Estonia is expected to rejoin the project. "Patria has been and will continue to be ready to include Estonian companies in the program with the aim of placing the first orders in 2021. The program will remain open to Estonia and all other countries wishing to join at a later stage," he said.
The Estonian defense forces need new armored vehicles by 2028 but it is not known if they can be produced domestically. The joint plan was for all three countries to find the best solution for increasing infantry mobility, with the initial plan to reach procurement in 2024.
The defense ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Finland signed an agreement of good intentions for research and technical development in the field of defense in December 2019.
Editor: Helen Wright