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Defence Minister Mikser signs Estonia’s biggest arms deal

10. December 2014 - 15:56
Eesti kaitseminister Sven Mikser ja Madalmaade Kuningriigi kaitseminister Jeanine Antoinette Hennis-Plasschaert lepingu allkirjastamisel

The Hague, 9 December – Minister of Defence Sven Mikser and Dutch counterpart Jeanine Antoinette Hennis-Plasschaert signed an agreement today in the Netherlands under which Estonia will buy 44 modern CV 9035NL infantry fighting vehicles and support vehicles based on Leopard 1 tanks, for 113 million euros.

“The procurement for modern infantry fighting vehicles will take the combat capabilities of the Estonian Defence Forces to a new level,” said Minister of Defence Sven Mikser. “The infantry fighting vehicle procurement is one of three major capabilities envisioned in the ten-year national defence development plan. In the years ahead, the soldiers in the Scouts Battalion will gain greater firepower and manoeuvring possibilities and they will be better defended.”

Next February, the Netherlands will bring 14 CV9035 infantry fighting vehicles to Estonia along with support vehicles, which together with the Scouts Battalion will practice scenarios involving the defence of Estonia and take part in the Independence Day parade in Narva.

According to Defence Minister Mikser, the joint exercise between armoured Dutch infantry elements and the Scots Battalion and participation in the parade is a sure sign of the solidarity between NATO allies and support for Estonia in the new security situation, and will give Estonian Defence Forces personnel a good opportunity to familiarize themselves with the combat vehicles.

The Cabinet gave the defence minister authority to sign a contract for the purchase of the CV9035 infantry fighting vehicles worth 138 million euros, which also encompasses toolkits for maintenance, training of Estonian Defence Forces members, spare parts and ammunition.

There is already a signed cooperation agreement with the Netherlands to speed up the entry of the modern infantry fighting vehicles into service. According to the contract, Estonia and the Netherlands exchange information on armoured vehicle training, tactics and doctrines, ammunition and the establishment of the training ground needed by the armoured units.

The infantry fighting vehicles will reach Estonia in 2016-2018.

The combat vehicles are used equipment but they are at the start of their life cycle, the oldest machine being seven years old. Before delivery to Estonia, all of the vehicles will undergo maintenance and, if necessary, repair in the Netherlands.

The Dutch familiarized Defence Minister Sven Mikser and the Estonian delegation with the capabilities of the CV9035NL combat vehicles at Amersfoort training ground before the signing of the contract.

The CV9035NL is a member of the Combat Vehicle 90 (CV90) family of infantry fighting vehicles and was developed in Sweden specially for the Dutch army. The manufacturer is BAE Systems Hägglunds AB. The CV90 entered service in the mid-1990s.

The CV90 has a high level of amour protection conforming to the NATO standard, and is armed with a 35 mm Bushmaster III cannon whose modern targeting system allows targets to be destroyed while on the move.

The Dutch Defence Forces decommissioned two battalions of CV9035NL, of which the equipment from one of the battalions was put on sale.

The CV90 is in the armament of the defence forces of the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden. The machinery has proven its worth in the difficult conditions in Afghanistan. They are modern fighting vehicles made for the Nordics and will remain in the countries’ armament for decades to come.

The infantry fighting vehicle has the ability to cover a large amount of ground, has treads, high armour protection and strong firepower and thus is able to fight with tanks. A wheeled armoured vehicle generally cannot keep up with tanks on every battlefield.

Estonia's largest procurements
The procurement for infantry fighting vehicles, support vehicles, spare parts and ammunition is the largest arms procurement in the history of re-independent Estonia. The largest procurements previously:
·    Short-range surface-to-air missile system Mistral, procured 2007, price about EEK 1.2 billion (€ 76 million)
·    Three Sandown class mine hunters, procured 2006, price about EEK 800 million (€ 51 million)
·    Purchase of weaponry and equipment from Israel, 1993, EEK 785 million (€ 50 million)

Procurement cooperation with the Netherlands

Over ten years, the Netherlands has sold to Estonia large quantities of high-quality transporters, armoured vehicles, trailers and, now, infantry fighting vehicles, all for a favourable price.

Starting in 2004, Estonia has signed seven procurement contracts with the Netherlands amounting to a total of about 40 million euros. Compared to equivalent new equipment, the price of the equipment bought from the Netherlands is only 10-30% of market price.

The list of equipment purchased from the Dutch includes 1,100 lightly used trucks and SUVs, close to 500 trailers, containers for special purposes and various other equipment, such as ambulances, fire trucks, generators, medical equipment, snow clearing equipment, spare parts for moving vehicles, camouflage netting, and fuel canisters.

In 2010, Estonia purchased 81 SISU XA-188 armoured personnel carriers including additional equipment and sets of maintenance equipment.

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