“The lessons learned from Russia’s war against Ukraine clearly show that to strengthen Estonia’s defence capabilities, we primarily need ammunition, increased firepower, and better air defence,” said Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur.
Pevkur stated that the decisions in the updated development plan are related not only to the lessons learned from the Russian war in Ukraine but also to the decision to allocate 3% of GDP to defence spending. “Our goal is very clear—to elevate Estonia’s defence capabilities to a new level, and for that, the defence forces need to be equipped as quickly as possible with everything necessary,” he noted.
The main focus will be on increasing the combat capability and firepower of units. While the current development plan, together with the Estonian Government’s additional decisions in 2022, allocated 1.3 billion euros for ammunition, the stocks will now be additionally supplemented with nearly 1 billion euros. As a result, Estonia will have more than twice the amount of ammunition stocks for key weapons systems compared to the previous plans.
The update of the development plan will bring Estonia’s defence spending to 3% of GDP, with a focus on acquiring additional ammunition, increasing unit resilience, and enhancing artillery and intelligence capabilities. New units will be established, including a wheeled self-propelled artillery battalion and a division-level intelligence battalion.
“Reaching 3% of GDP in defence spending is certainly of symbolic importance for both us and our allies. For years, Estonia has stood out for its systematic development of independent defence capabilities, a well-thought-out reserve system, and efficiency of procurement. During the development plan period, defence spending will amount to an additional 5.4 billion euros,” said Defence Minister Pevkur.
According to Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur, Estonia has significantly accelerated its defence capability development based on lessons from the war in Ukraine. “We are already working on the acquisition of several important capabilities. Last year, Estonia made a series of exceptionally necessary decisions to expedite the development of defence capabilities, for which the government allocated 1.2 billion euros. These include short- and medium-range air defence, anti-tank capabilities, indirect fire, as well as doubling territorial defence and hosting allies,” Pevkur said.
The development plan also includes implementing previously made decisions, such as transitioning the 2nd Infantry Brigade to armored personnel carriers, arming with anti-ship missiles and sea mines, establishing a regional multiple rocket launcher unit, creating intelligence battalions alongside brigades, and establishing an additional medium-range air defence unit.
The development plan is based on the threat assessment in the Baltic Sea region, which serves as the basis for the Commander of the Defence Forces’ military advice on capability development.