The Estonian Defense Forces' (EDF) second infantry brigade is to see a planned €3.7-million heavy equipment procurement slated for 2023 brought forward to this year, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Sunday evening.
The plant is primarily engineering equipment used in constructing fortications, shelters, trenches and other positions, which had previously been carried out in training exercises by private sector firms.
This also led to a saving of around a million euros, some of which was used to purchase two bulldozers, AK reported, and will also be used in other military engineering procurements.
The kit should be available as early as this year's Spring Storm mass exercise, AK reported.
Toomas Kalda, vehicles and equipment manager at the Defense Investment Center (RKIK), the body which deals with defense procurement, told AK that: "As exercises were taking place and the machinery was needed, a contract partner was agreed and we were provided with the vehicles we needed. These are used to train conscripts. As of March, the 2nd Infantry Brigade has all the vehicles they need, for both training and military tasks."
The move will bring the 2nd Brigade closer in capabilities to the flagship 1st Infantry Brigade, and will also plug gaps in existing equipment and provide more universal capabilities, Maj. Marten Suur, commander of the 2nd Brigade's Pioneer Battalion (Pioneeripataljon), the unit likely to be the main user of the new procurements, told AK.
This does not mean the private sector partners will be abandoned altogether, he added.
"Transport capability, or the transport of heavy equipment is important. It may transpire that in connection with supporting our allies, we will want capabilities we do not yet have the resources for. In such cases, of course, there is no other source of aid than civilian partners."
The allies primarily comprise the U.K.-led NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup based at Tapa, east of Tallinn, whose rotations have also seen Danish, Belgian and French personnel take part.
EDF training grounds cover about 33,000 hectares, about 1,000 of which are hazardous areas used in target practice, AK reported.
Later on this year, the EDF will also be getting a remote-controlled bulldozer for clearing such zones of unexploded ordnance.
Editor: Andrew Whyte