The Estonian Center for Defense Investment on Wednesday signed contracts with Turkish companies Nurol Makina and Otokar to supply the Estonian defense forces with around 230 wheeled armored vehicles to protect members of the defense forces in combat situations and ensure their rapid and secure deployment on the battlefield.
Additionally, four wheeled armored vehicles were purchased for the explosive ordnance disposal center of the Estonian Rescue Board.
The vehicles are acquired for the 2nd Infantry Brigade, which has not previously had wheeled armored vehicles. Besides, additional armored vehicles are purchased for the 1st Infantry Brigade.
Karmo Saar, category manager for air, sea, and combat vehicles at the Estonian Center for Defense Investment, said: “The protection of Estonian soldiers in dangerous situations is our top priority. Given the current security situation, we emphasized in the procurement terms and conditions that the vehicles should arrive in Estonia as early as possible.”
“This was an extensive and technically complex procurement with extremely intense competition, involving a total of nine companies from six countries. The procurement was structured so that the armored vehicles had to meet our technical requirements and quality standards, and the best offers were selected based on the fastest delivery time and price. The successful offers were submitted by Turkish companies Nurol Makina and Otokar, which have extensive experience in building armored vehicles,” Saar added.
Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm, commander of the division of the defense forces, described the acquisition of the wheeled armored vehicles as an important capability upgrade, especially for the infantry battalion of the 2nd Infantry Brigade and for command posts of the whole division, enhancing their armor protection and mobility. The armored vehicles to be delivered will increase the survivability of our units and allow greater flexibility in unit deployment, he added.
The armored vehicles purchased by Estonia are divided into two categories: 4×4 armored vehicles, which will be used by smaller crews in both the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades, and 6×6 armored vehicles, which will serve as armored personnel carriers in the 2nd Infantry Brigade. The 4×4 armored vehicles are of the NMS model, to be supplied by Nurol Makina, while the 6×6 armored vehicles are the Arma model, to be supplied by Otokar. The first armored vehicles are expected to arrive in Estonia in 2024.
The new armored vehicles will be adapted to the specific needs of the Estonian defense forces and certified for protection against both small arms fire and mine blasts. For security purposes, the vehicles are equipped with a smoke grenade launcher and a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun mounted on the roof turret of the vehicle.
The contracts for the wheeled armored vehicles have a duration of 10 years and allow for additional armored vehicle and spare parts purchases if necessary. The estimated cost of the procurement is approximately 200 million euros, which includes the vehicles, documentation, training, special tools and equipment and spare parts. These contracts can also be used to request services for the maintenance, repairs, and development of the vehicles.
In addition to the procurement contracts, Estonia’s Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur and Turkish Minister of Defense Yasar Guler signed a letter of intent establishing the basis for defense industry cooperation between the two countries. Furthermore, an agreement for cooperation was signed between the Estonian Center for Defense Investment and the Turkish Defense Industry Agency to ensure secure supplies of armored vehicle-related materials and services, as well as the joint organization of training and development activities.
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