TALLINN - The Estonian Ministry of Defense on Monday launched a new website introducing Estonia's national defense development since the restoration of independence.
The website maps out the development of Estonia's defense capability since 1990 until the present day, and covers a wide range of topics from training to procurement and infrastructure, spokespeople for the ministry said. Various metrics describing national defense development show both general development and the evolution of narrower fields, to illustrate the history and current state of military defense.
The metrics for measuring national defense development show how the training of active service personnel and conscripts is proceeding, the kinds of armaments or infrastructure being invested in, to what degree the Estonian defense forces are contributing to international operations, and what the society's overall will to defend the country is.
Minister of Defense Juri Luik said that Estonia's military capability, including the defense forces' firepower, along with the defense will have improved. The minister pointed out that improvement of defense capability has consistently been geared at having a fully manned and combat ready defense forces with mechanized ground units and troops defended to the greatest possible degree.
"The Scouts Battalion, the armored infantry battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade, has been equipped with CV90 heavy infantry fighting vehicles with world class firepower, mobility and level of protection," Luik said.
Luik said that the procurement of infantry fighting vehicles has been one part of the development of the armored maneuvering capability of the defense forces of Estonia. Nearly 30 years ago, the defense forces began using standard trucks lacking any protection, which were gradually replaced in 2005 with armored personnel carriers and armored trucks.
"The anti-tank capability of Estonian defense forces has significantly increased with the acquisition of Javelin anti-tank missiles, and a procurement contract has also been signed for the purchasing of the long-range anti-tank system Eurospike," he added.
The minister pointed out that with the adoption of 155 mm howitzers, the maximum range of artillery increased from 15 kilometers to 24-30 kilometers. In the next stage of development of armored maneuvering capability and maximum range, the plan is to acquire South-Korean made self-propelled artillery K9 Thunder.
The National Defense Development Plan 2017-2026 foresees that by 2026 the 1st Infantry Brigade will have been developed into a mechanized infantry brigade and the 2nd Infantry Brigade will have been developed into a combat capable motorized light infantry brigade. The country's defense structure will also grow by more than 10 light infantry companies and a thousand combatants, and the upgrading of the Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer corps' infrastructure to ensure a high level of training for volunteers will continue.