Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna introduced the code of practice governing the development of the defence industry for the period 2017-2019.
“Estonia’s defence industry must become an integral part of Estonia’s defence capability. It is important that the defence technologies developed here will help to create an advantage for Estonian soldiers on the battlefield, and that Estonian companies can help to maintain and update the equipment and technology being used by Estonia’s Defence Forces,” stated Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna.
According to the Minister of Defence, each specialist involved in the defence industry during peacetime and wartime is a direct contribution to Estonia’s defence capability. “The defence industry is a part of Estonia’s broad-based national defence, and the development of the industry raises the national defence capability of the state,” said Tsahkna. “Our goal is for Estonia’s defence industry to be competitive on the international level, export oriented, and a creator of added value. A reliable partner for the state during peacetime, crisis and wartime.”
The code of practice includes various measures for developing the defence industry as a growing branch of the economy. For example, the focus is on updating legislation regarding military weapons and ammunition.
The Ministry of Defence will be increasing the budget for defence industry support to EUR 800,000 by 2018. The Minister of Defence, along with the leadership of the Defence Forces and the Ministry of Defence, are supporting exports by Estonia’s defence industry companies at international meetings and defence industry fairs. In addition, measures are being developed for improving the investment climate and major events are being organised to introduce the field.
According to the Minister of Defence, one of Estonia’s priorities during its Presidency of the European Union will be to reach an agreement with EU Member States on raising defence expenditures. “In addition, we will be submitting proposals for increasing support for the defence industry and defence related research and development activity within the EU,” said Tsahkna. “The Ministry of Defence, in cooperation with the defence industry, is currently in the process of developing proposals to acquire funding, from various EU funding sources, for products and services that are internationally competitive and possess great development potential” noted the Minister of Defence.
Over the next few years, the Defence Forces will be strengthening cooperation with Estonia's defence industry companies, having been included in the testing and development of products. In order to inspire young people, the topic of the defence industry and technology will be added to the national defence curriculum. The Ministry of Defence will be joining the research and technology pact led by the Estonian Research Council, in order to promote defence related research and development activity among Estonia’s young people.
All companies offering products or services in the fields of defence and security are a part of Estonia’s defence industry. Approximately 20-25 of these defence industry companies are operating on the international market. A significant degree of development has taken place over the past five to six years. The primary directions of Estonia’s defence industry are electronics, energy storage, simulators, cyber defence, special equipment, development of unmanned systems, robotics and clothing.