TALLINN - Estonia is set to acquire ammunition worth nearly one billion euros as part of the updated military section of the national defense development plan 2031 as the defense forces are to focus on increasing firepower in the coming years.
"The experience of Ukraine clearly shows that, for the strengthening of Estonia's defense capability, we primarily need ammunition, increased firepower, and better air defense," Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur said. He added that the decisions in the updated development plan are based not only on the lessons learned from the war in Ukraine but also on the commitment to raise defense spending to 3 percent of GDP.
"Our clear goal is to take Estonia's defense capability to a new level, and for that, the defense forces must be equipped as quickly as possible with everything they need," he noted.
The main focus of the updated plan is to enhance the combat capability and firepower of military units. While the existing development plan, along with the 2022 supplementary decisions by the government, allocated 1.3 billion euros for ammunition, the updated plan will add an additional almost one billion euros. This means that Estonia will have more than twice the amount of ammunition reserves for its most important weapon systems compared to the previous plans.
With the update of the development plan, Estonia's defense spending will reach three percent of GDP. The plan includes not only the procurement of additional ammunition but also increasing the resilience of units and enhancing artillery and intelligence capabilities. It also involves the establishment of a wheeled self-propelled artillery battalion and an intelligence battalion of the Estonian Division as new units.
"Reaching three percent of GDP in defense spending is undoubtedly of symbolic importance for both us and our allies. Estonia has stood out for years in terms of developing an independent defense capability, having a well-thought-out reserve system efficient procurements. Approximately 5.4 billion euros will be allocated to defense spending during the development plan period," Pevkur stated.
Estonia has significantly accelerated its defense capability development based on the experience of the war in Ukraine, according to Pevkur.
"We are already working on acquiring several important capabilities. Estonia made a series of exceptionally necessary decisions for the rapid development of defense capability last year, for which the government allocated 1.2 billion euros. These decisions include short and medium-range air defense, anti-tank capabilities, indirect fire support, as well as doubling the capacity of land defense and the reception of allies," Pevkur explained.
The development plan also includes the implementation of previous decisions, such as equipping the 2nd Infantry Brigade with armored personnel carriers, acquiring anti-ship missiles and sea mines, establishing a regional multiple rocket launcher unit, creating intelligence battalions and additional medium-range air defense units within the brigades.
The development plan is based on an assessment of the threats prevailing in the Baltic Sea region, based on which the commander of the defense forces has provided his military advice for capability building.