The Ministry of Defense is analyzing whether it would be practicable to manufacture munitions in Estonia and how to support relevant efforts getting off the ground. While an analysis is expected this fall, it could take years for munitions production to start.
Both domestic and foreign companies are interested in the idea of manufacturing munitions in Estonia, said Indrek Sirp, special adviser for defense industry development at the Estonian Defense Ministry. Having a domestic munitions industry would benefit national security, which has sent the ministry analyzing what it would take in Estonia.
"We have not drawn any red lines in terms of what type of munitions we're talking about. The general approach is that it could be munitions that can be profitably manufactured and sold not just in Estonia," Sirp said.
"It could be the kind of munitions for which there is great demand in the Ukraine war today – mortar and artillery shells, but it could also be something else. It could be autonomous precision munitions. That is what we're trying to determine in cooperation with businesses – what would make sense considering Estonia's location," the special adviser explained.
Kalev Koidumäe, head of the Estonian Defense and Aerospace Industry Association, said that companies are interested in producing munitions. He added, however, that having long-term contracts is key and Estonia's own needs will not be enough for a factory to be in the black. That is why it is important to be able to sell munitions abroad.
"The initial investment falls in the €50-150 million ballpark. There is also a temporal dimension, and going from the decision to the first batch of ready munitions could take three to five years," Koidumäe said.
The Defense Ministry's analysis will be completed by this fall. Sirp admitted that it is unclear how much of it can be shared with the public once that happens. The ministry aims to present the government with plans for a defense industrial park in September.
Editor: Marcus Turovski