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Pandemic has made EDF procurement process more difficult

K9 Thunder mobile artillery.
K9 Thunder mobile artillery. Source: mil.ee

The coronavirus pandemic, supply chain issues and price inflation has made it significantly more complicated for the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) to complete their procurements in time. For example, delivery prices from Asia have multiplied.

The past few years for the Estonian Defense Forces can be characterized as a period of major investments, including a recent procurement for South Korean-built K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers.

Another contract is signed to acquire anti-ship missile systems. The EDF and voluntary Defense League (Kaitseliit) is set to replace all of their small arms. But Estonia is not the only country in the world to get armed and even simple things, such as gunpowder, have long queues, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported over the weekend.

"When we spoke of delivery times for large-caliber ammunition previously, we spoke of 12 months and maybe 18 months. That number has now gone up to two years," said Center for Defense Investment director Magnus-Valdemar Saar.

Military delivery periods are long - goods arriving today were ordered a year ago. This also brings with a considerable price increase. "All inputs are getting more expensive. There are metal availability issues. Several components, which are produced in Asia - also availability issues. The transport market is very complicated. Transport prices from Asia have multiplied," Saar said.

A company manufacturing trailers and control containers said they are missing casting parts and that control modules on their superstructures are also missing. Control units must be replaced and reprogrammed. Most delivery deadlines around the world have already long passed and supplier geography stretches from the U.S. to China.

Construction is another important security sector. Tapa, home of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup, has seen the most new buildings developed, but construction has also taken place at Ämari, Jõhvi and Tallinn.

Magnus-Valdemar Saar said there is a total of €250 million in investments soon to reach Estonia, but several projects are delayed.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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