At its meeting today, the National Defence Committee heard about the plan of the consortium of Estonia’s defence companies to take part in an Estonian, Finnish, and Latvian joint procurement of armoured vehicles, as well as to start producing these vehicles if possible.
The Chairman of the Committee Andres Metsoja said that the companies outlined their plans to the Committee, and the Committee decided to support the project. “This is a step in the right direction,” Metsoja said. “This is a large scale project, and international cooperation with Latvia and Finland would have an extensive impact.”
Metsoja believes that Estonia’s defence companies would create completely new capabilities. “It is clear to us that all this should be carried out with the support of the government and the parliament,” Metsoja explained. “At the same time, we must critically review the needs of Estonia’s national defence in light of the decrease in economic indicators and the consequent possible reduction in the defence budget.”
Member of the Committee Alar Laneman recommends further efforts in developing defence industry as part of Estonia’s defence capabilities, and using the synergy thus generated. “The Committee consensually supported Estonian defence companies because the value of the consortium project surpasses the proposed armoured vehicle. The project would increase our knowledge, skills, employment, and indirectly – our economy and industry,” Laneman said.
The defence industry consortium project was presented to the Committee by the Estonian Defence Industry Union Chief Executive Tarmo Ränisoo, Director of the Centre for Defence Investments Kusti Salm, and representatives of AS Milrem and Milrem Robotics, AS Cybernetica and Baltic Marine Group AS.
The Committee was told that there have been discussions on the possibility of acquiring the licence of the Finnish defence company Patria for producing armoured vehicles in Estonia, managing the supply chain along with designing the necessary modifications, and ensuring their life cycle. However, it is also an option for the Estonian consortium to develop its own 6×6 armoured vehicle based on the needs of our Defence Forces. In both cases, the project would have a clear positive impact on Estonia’s economy and defence capabilities.
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