TALLINN - Estonia, Finland and Latvia are about to develop a new wheeled armored vehicle platform together and expect to achieve the first result already this year.
Secretary general of the Estonian Ministry of Defense Kristjan Prikk has signed a joint technical arrangement agreement with Finland and Latvia, which enables Estonia to continue its participation in the program to develop the military requirements and platform for the potential procurement of armored vehicles with a common armored wheeled system, spokespeople for the Ministry of Defense said on Monday.
"With the project that has several parties involved, we have to keep in mind that our primary goal here is to develop a platform that meets the requirements of Estonian defense forces with a favorable price. We see a big potential in this project, especially as we are involved already in the development phase, which is the best way to secure that eventually we will have equipment that meets our needs," Prikk said.
For Estonia, the development of the armored vehicle platform means the possible replacement of the older generation Pasi armored vehicles currently used by the defense forces. The decision to replace the vehicles is expected to be made with the country's new national defense development plan.
"It is important for us that international defense cooperation, which has a very clear economic dimension, continues. In the current crisis, it is also crucial that we continue to strengthen our defense capability and, if possible, lay the foundation for creating new jobs or maintaining existing ones in the Estonian defense industry sector," Prikk added.
Within the framework of the agreement, Finland, Latvia and Estonia agreed on common technical requirements for the armored vehicles platform to be developed and on the development of a vehicle prototype. The first results are planned to be achieved this year.
Under the agreement, countries are free to choose their future partners for the vehicles' maintenance, crew training and spare parts. The Estonian defense forces currently have 140 armored vehicles in their fleet, of which approximately 100 need to be replaced in the coming years. The first vehicles will come to the end of their lifecycle in 2024.