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Estonia wants to start production of military armored vehicles

TALLINN, (BM) – A dozen Estonian enterprises led by Milrem started a consortium to take part in a joint tender for the purchase of armored vehicles from Estonia, Finland and Latvia.

If possible, members of the future consortium would like to start production of such equipment in Estonia themselves, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing local news agency err.ee.

Read more: Estonia Enhances Its Air Defence Capability

In December, Estonia, Latvia and Finland signed an agreement of “good intentions” – with the aim of jointly developing their armed forces and coming up with a cooperation option when developing an appropriate platform for all armored personnel carriers.

It is assumed that wheeled armored personnel carriers on a three-axle platform will be developed by the Finnish factory Patria. Currently Pasi armored vehicles of this plant are used in the Estonian Defense Forces.

“Estonian enterprises have come together and have shown a clear desire to participate in this project,” said Tarmo Raniso, Executive Director of the Estonian Defense Industry Union. He added that the enterprises offered the Ministry of Defense two options for participation in the tender. “The first option: the created consortium acquires Patria’s license for the production of armored vehicles in Estonia, for drawing up the supply chain together with the design of the necessary modifications and ensuring the development of the project in Estonia,” said Ryanisoo, noting that this option would require intense negotiations with representatives of Patria and countries, involved in the project.

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“If it would be too expensive, then the Estonian consortium could itself develop a 6 × 6 armored personnel carrier that would meet the needs of Estonia. The Estonian defense industry has the necessary competence,” the Executive Director assured.

Baltic Marine Group, Cybernetica AS, Baltflex AS, Nordic Armory OÜ, Bristol Trust OÜ, Merrem Tööstusplast OÜ, Heavy Industries Estonia OÜ, Toci OÜ and Torm Metall OÜ joined the project led by Milrem AS. Other Estonian companies may also participate.

Project participants would like to keep up to 70% of the production cost of armored personnel carriers and the supply chain in Estonia, ensuring both the preservation of jobs and the creation of new ones.

A representative of Milrem said that preparations for participation in the tender have advanced far, there is a real machine that the consortium is going to perform with, and the necessary calculations of the project cost and investments have been made.

According to the executive director of the Union of Defense Industry, if Estonia acquired a hundred or more armored personnel carriers in a tender for 30-40 years, this would mean very high costs, because the cost of one machine is expressed in six-digit, or even seven-digit numbers.

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“A service over 30–40 years would also be worth millions,” Ryaniso said.

Representatives of the future consortium intend to meet with the leadership of the Patria plant in May. “We will have to make a decision: to produce some part of the armored personnel carrier in Estonia or the Estonian enterprises will come up with a competing proposal for the production of armored vehicles,” explained Ryaniso.

He noted that the consortium plans to create an armored car, the production of which would also be handled by Estonian industry.

The Center for Defense Research, which is subordinate to the Estonian Ministry of Defense, favors enterprise plans.

“Together with Latvia, we set the condition of the project for the participation of local defense enterprises in it. We also asked the representatives of the Patria plant to make a concrete proposal on how to attract the Estonian defense industry. At the same time, we are only in the initial phase of the project. The first goal is to get the platform that meets Estonia’s requirements at the best possible price,” said Kusti Salm, director of the Center for Defense Research.

Read more: Estonia analyzes how the coronavirus affects NATO’s combat capability

In December last year, representatives of the defense departments of Estonia, Latvia and Finland signed a protocol on cooperation in the development of an armored personnel carrier platform. On January 29 this year, Latvia and Finland signed a technical agreement with Patria to launch a 6 × 6 platform research and development program. Estonia has not acceded to this agreement.

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