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Estonia´s Defence Ministry to focus on armaments, situational awareness and supporting civil society with a four-year development plan

6. March 2021 - 14:31

Minister of Defence of Estonia, Kalle Laanet has approved the Ministry of Defence Development Plan 2022–2025, which envisages the acquisition of new armaments, the deployment of naval mine capability and coastal defence system, and the continuation of the introduction of self-propelled artillery. In addition, the command capabilities of the Defence Forces will be developed, situational awareness improved, including with regard to NATO-compliant maritime surveillance, and a tactical communication system will be developed.

According to Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet, it is important that we are able to maintain our already existing capabilities, while also developing new ones within the framework of the new Development Plan. “A good example here are the steps that have been taken to strengthen maritime defence, where we have had numerous shortcomings and in which we are making a significant leap forward in development with the help of Estonia’s own investments and those of our Allies, in order to achieve better situational awareness, communication, and protection. We are also starting a so-called future Navy project, which should serve to guide the face of the Estonian Navy and the navies of other countries within 10-15 years,” added Laanet.

Laanet noted that the development of defence readiness is a long-term process, pausing of which would impact our security for decades. “With the new Development Plan, we likewise want to develop those capabilities with which we can also support civil society during a crisis,” Laanet added, according to whom there are plans to develop solutions for field hospitals in both the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades.

One of the Defence Forces’ field hospitals was used last spring in Saaremaa, to support the effort of the local hospital in combating the coronavirus. The solutions offered by Estonian entrepreneurs have largely been used in assembling the field hospital.

In 2019, the Ministry of Defence directed a total of nearly EUR 338 million, including VAT, to defence procurements, infrastructure, IT services, property management, bought-in catering services, and various economic expenses. A total of 53%, or more than half, of that sum went into the Estonian economy.

The new Development Plan calls for the introduction of new handguns, machine guns, anti-tank missile complexes, anti-tank grenade launchers, sniper rifles and mortars.

Within the framework of the Development Plan, investments in the armaments and equipment of territorial defence units, formed on the basis of the Defence League, will be increased. The annual operating support provided to the Defence League will reach EUR 44.1 million in 2025, to which procurements for territorial defence units will be added. We will continue to operate under the principle that the equipping of the units formed on the basis of the Defence League will take place in a manner that is equivalent to that of units of the Defence Forces performing similar tasks.

In addition to a number of already fully equipped units, Combat Service Support Battalions, Combat Engineering Battalions and a military police company will be fully equipped within the full extent of this Development Plan.

Means of transport shall be procured from larger-scale procurements. The protection of troops (flak jackets and body armour, night vision equipment, and decontamination equipment) will also be improved, and laser hiking equipment will be procured, which will allow company-level units to train realistically and effectively under limited training conditions.

Attention will continue to be paid to ensuring adequate ammunition stocks. During the period 2022–2025 a total of EUR 135 million will be invested in ammunition, with at least EUR 20 million per year being invested from the National Defence Investment Programme.

The Ministry of Defence Development Plan describes the development objectives for military national defence and the resources required to achieve those objectives, which are determined on the basis of the National Defence Development Plan, the military advice of the Commander of the Defence Forces, and NATO force goals.

Additional information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee

The Ministry of Defence Development Plan 2022–2025 foreword (324.41 KB, PDF)