The Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) has seen interest from several bidders in its tender to refit 37 CV-90 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).
Four international compnies are in the running, namely BAE Systems, Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft, Bristol Trust, plus a joint offer from Ühinenud Depood and Scania Eest, to refit the Swedish-made vehicles, in the CV-9035 version.
The IFVs mostly existed as basic, turretless hulls when they were snapped up from Norway for the price of €635,000, reportedly several times lower than their market value.
The cost of the whole refitting project by contrast is an estimated €30 million.
Thirty one of the hulls will be converted into specialised vehicles intended for roles such as close range air defence, combat engineering, medical, mortar, anti-tank and other combat support functions, according to a spokesperson from the ECDI.
The remaining six will see 120mm mortars installed and will be comprehensively serviced.
A life cycle support agreement to last for seven years will see all the vehicles maintained and supplied with spare parts as part of the procurement deal.
They will join over 40 functioning CV-90s purchased from the Netherlands in 2014.
''As a result of the planned reconstruction, the defence forces will get vehicles precisely tailored to their needs, which will remain in service for the next couple of decades," Priit Soosaar, head of the department of procurements at ECDI, said.
"Together with the CV9035 fighting vehicles bought from the Netherlands, they will make up a sizeable armoured unit," Soosaar went on, adding that compared with the Sisu armored vehicles currently used by the defence forces, the vehicles have better protection features, mobility, and off-road capabilities.
The tender for the reconstruction of the vehicles was announced in late August 2017, with the contract scheduled to be signed off by year end.
The project is one of the biggest defence procurement drives for the Estonian military to date, alongside the purchase of automatic firearms, self-propelled howitzers and ammunition procurement.
The CV-90 tracked IFV exists in several variants and was developed in Sweden, entering service in that country in the mid-1990s. As noted it has multiple roles, and there are over 1,000 such vehicles in service worldwide at present. BAE Systems Hägglunds were one of the original designers of the vehicle.
Editor: Andrew Whyte