Thursday, August 26, 2010
Estonia Buys APCs in Largest-Ever Deal
Estonia on Aug. 26 announced its largest-ever military vehicle deal, buying more than 80 armored personnel carriers from fellow NATO member the Netherlands.
"The Estonian defense forces will buy over 80 Sisu XA-188 armored personnel carriers from the Netherlands," defense ministry spokesman Peeter Kuimet told AFP.
"The deal doubles the number of armored vehicles in the Estonian defense forces and is the biggest armored vehicle deal ever made (by Estonia)," he added.
Some of the vehicles will be sent to Afghanistan, where 155 Estonian troops are deployed in NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
The Finnish-made carriers are a decade old. Estonia also bought 60 used models directly from neutral neighbor Finland in 2004.
Estonia regained independence from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991 and built its military from scratch.
The nation of 1.3 million has a 3,800-member regular military - including 1,500 conscripts - plus 8,000 reservists.
Estonia joined NATO in 2004 and has been upgrading its defense equipment to meet the standards of the 28-nation trans-Atlantic alliance.
Kuimet said the vehicles cost over 300 million kroons (24.3 million dollars), with the total to be paid by 2015.
In March, in its largest-ever defense deal, Estonia took delivery of a short-range surface-to-air missile system from European defense giant MBDA and Sweden's Saab costing one billion kroons.