The draft 2016 state budget approved by the government will appropriate 114 million euros, one-fourth of the next year’s defence budget, to developing new military capabilities.
“The stable increase in the defence budget agreed for a long term ensures development of defensive capabilities and makes it possible for us to respond to challenges posed by the changing security situation,” said Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso. “New weapons systems such as Infantry Fighting Vehicles give the Defence Forces a significant amount of additional firepower and fighting capability.”
The defence minister said Estonian defence spending is showing the way for many NATO countries, and that Estonia is also a good host for the allied troops. “The government’s firm decision to invest into infrastructure for NATO allies on top of everything else shows the high value Estonia places on the allied presence.”
The largest single investment in 2016 is the procurement of the CV90 IFVs. Over 25.2 million euros is budgeted for purchase of these vehicles, which have a high level of armour protection and are well-equipped with weaponry. The first IFVs procured from the Netherlands will reach Estonia in the second half of 2016 and will be used by the Scouts Battalion. For the Estonian Defence Forces, this is a new weapons system that will significantly increase the Defence Forces’ combat capabilities.
Over 40 million euros will be spent on new weapons and equipment for the Defence Forces’ main operational units – the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades. The equipment and supplies include ammunition, equipment for combat engineers and uniforms.
The new infrastructure to be constructed next year in the Ministry of Defence’s area of government makes up 51.6 million euros of the budget. Some 15 million euros will be spent on new buildings on the Tapa base, including a barracks for accommodating 240 conscripts and maintenance hangars for the IFVs.
In the Miinisadam port, 6 million euros of investments will be made: construction of the port service building will start, necessary storage space will be established and a workshop for maintenance of military police, the Guard Battalion and the Navy’s land vehicles will be built.
The Air Force’s control centre will start to be built at the Juhkentali base – part of NATO’s integrated air and missile defence system.
In 2016, the nation will also invest a noteworthy amount – 10.1 million euros – – into development of allied persistent presence infrastructure. This sum will be used to establish a barracks for NATO troops on the Tapa base, improve training conditions on the central training range and build the infrastructure for the Tallinn-based NATO Force Integration Unit opened this year. The expenditures related to NATO troop hosting will be covered from an additional earmark from the government in addition to the previously planned defence budget.
A total of 6.28 million euros is planned to support participation of the Defence Forces in international military operations in Lebanon, Mali, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
In total, the 2016 defence budget is 449 million euros, making up 2.07% of the GDP.
The 2015 defence budget totalled 412 million euros.