Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna said at the rafter party celebrating the expansion of the Tapa base that Estonia is able, if necessary, to quickly organise the hosting of allies and the cooperation required between various agencies.
“The development of the Tapa base is recognition that we are capable of quickly reacting and ensuring that allied units arriving in Estonia receive comprehensive support,” said Tsahkna. The Minister of Defence added that the barracks and infrastructure being completed offer Members of the Defence Forces of Estonia as well as our allies the most modern service and living conditions.
According to Tsahkna, the expansion of the base over the last decade has been one of the largest construction projects in the field of defence, which is comparable to the construction of Ämari Air Base in terms of its volume and complexity.
A total of 16 buildings have been completed at the Tapa base, with a combined 37,000 square metres of space. The buildings under construction include Estonia’s largest catering complex, three barracks, six storage and training halls, five covered areas, in addition to service buildings and structures, for example, a substation and car wash, as well as roads and squares. Each set of barracks has 300 beds and 30 workstations; the dining facility is able to provide catering for 3200 people per day.
Estonia’s newest barracks are equipped with modern solutions, in which all accommodation, training work and equipment are located in one building; they are also efficiently built and manageable. Solutions, contemporary utility systems, and the ability to care for corresponding equipment based on the standards of different countries have been thought out in the barracks and repair halls.
The buildings will, for the most part, be completed in August and September, with the final building having to be ready by October. In addition to the buildings under construction, a container city will be completed by April, for use by allied units, in which more than 100 headquarters, medical and support containers will be stored. By this autumn, the Tapa base will be home to a total of eight barracks, of which three are planned for Allied use.
The rafter party is a tradition in which the party who orders the works shows their satisfaction with the work performed so far by the builders and grants that the builder may complete the work. The rafter party organised at the Tapa base marked the construction work reaching a new stage. The Allies were represented at the rafter party by the commander of the contingent, Col. Giles Harris from the United Kingdom, with AS Nordecon management board member Erkki Suurorg, and Keit Paal, Chairman of the Management Board of Merko Ehitus Eesti, speaking on behalf of the builders.
Construction work will continue during 2018, when an additional two barracks, along with support structures for equipment maintenance and training, will be completed at Tapa.
As a result of the developments, the Tapa base, which is home to the 1st Infantry Brigade, is turning into an armoured manoeuvre capability development centre. The Scouts Battalion, comprised of professional servicemen, is in the process of moving to Tapa, and their armaments have begun to be updated with the modern infantry fighting vehicle CV90. Also present at Tapa are NATO battalion battle group units stationed in Estonia. Infrastructure that meets their needs must be created in order to support additional capabilities and units.