EDF destroys expired anti-tank ammunition en masse

Ammunition disposal in progress at Sirgala.
Ammunition disposal in progress at Sirgala. Source: ERR

The Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) has detonated around 2,000 obsolete items of anti-tank and other ammunition this week as part of a clear-out process, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Thursday night.

Explosives disposal personnel from the EDF and also the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit), in conjunction with the bomb disposal experts from the Rescue Board (Päästeamet) worked at the Sirgala training area in Ida-Viru County Monday to Thursday to safely dispose of ammunition from Swedish-made Carl Gustav 84-mm recoilless rifles – an anti-tank fire-and-forget weapon – and also 120 mortar rounds.

The ordnance had been stockpiled and reached its expiry date around 10 years ago already, EDF Maj. Kaspar Saul said, adding the ammunition was already 20-30 years old when procured.

Out-of-date ammunition can present a potential danger to users, and the work also frees up EDF storage space, including for planned ammunition for armored fighting vehicles – a mainstay of Estonia's longer-term defense plan.

Some ammunition will be retained in reserve, however, Maj. Saul said, and Saab Bofors Dynamics, the manufacturer of the Carl-Gustav system, will also be buying back some of the ammunition.

A representative, Tomas Persson, Saab Bofors Dynamics' technical sales manager, was on site to observe, adding that if ammunition is sufficiently stable, the company will buy it back for recycling.

"If there is a good stabilization, we have an agreement that we will buy some ammunition from you, because this is originally ammunition that comes from Sweden, and we take it back and recycle everything," Persson told AK.

Other recent clearouts have included the donation of over 2,000 Soviet-era Makarov semi-automatic pistols to Ukraine's army, Ramil Lepp, head of the Center for Defense Investment (RKIK) armaments' department told AK.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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