The Ministry of Defence will buy six more K9 Thunder self-propelled guns from South Korea, after purchasing an initial 12 last year, due to an unexpected boost to the defense budget, Postimees reported on Thursday.
The initial purchase of 12 K9s cost €46 million which included training, maintenance and spare parts and the six additional weapons will cost another €20 million.
The purchase is possible because several defense procurements this year were carried out at a lower cost than expected, freeing up nearly €20 million in the defense budget, Postimees reported.
"The additional artillery we receive is due, among other things, to lower-than-planned procurement of machine guns and the ability to conduct some planned ammunition and communications procurements with US assistance," defense minister Jüri Luik told the newspaper.
The U.S. has recently helped Estonia acquire large-caliber ammunition, marine surveillance equipment, intelligence equipment, and communications equipment which the Estonian government has planned to buy themselves.
ERR News reported last year that the initial procurement represented one of the most significant investments by the Estonian Defence Forces for several years. The K9 Thunder SP gun carries a 155mm howitzer with a maximum range of 40km. The initial 12 SP guns are likely to be in operation in 2021, it is reported.
Editor: Helen Wright