Approved last week by the Government, Estonian National Defence Development Plan for 2031 creates a new Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) unit that considerably increases indirect fire capability. The plan also expands the wartime structure, increases the protection of units, raises anti-tank capability and strengthens the indirect fire capability also in the 2nd Infantry Brigade of Estonian Defence Forces.
Estonia also contributes to strategic and tactical intelligence, by creating intelligence battalions (instead of current companies) in brigades. Maritime warfare capability will increase with anti-ship missiles and mines added to armament.
“Adopting the updated long-term national defence plan in today’s security situation is highly significant. Considering the ongoing hybrid crisis in the region, we cannot forget that conventional warfare has a very clear role in a hybrid crisis as well,” Minister of Defence of Estonia, Kalle Laanet said. According to Laanet, Estonia must increase its efforts in strengthening wartime defence capabilities both independently and in cooperation with Allies, in the coming years.
December 9, 2021, Government of Estonia approved the National Defence Development Plan for 2031 with an objective to determine a development course that is in line with the available resources and ensures deterrence to counter potential enemy aggression.
“The defence development plan is comprehensive, which means that military defence is part of the broader action plan for the country,” Laanet added. The national defence plan is realistic and considers the available resources, while continuously supporting the functioning of civil society and the Estonian economy.
The priorities of the new development plan are as follows:
- To improve defence readiness we are increasing the number of troops and creating a supplementary reserve. We are also enhancing territorial defence through including additional Defence League volunteers in military defence. We are developing the maritime situational awareness and maritime command capability. Mobile maritime surveillance radars will be put to use and the capability for wartime exchange of maritime situational awareness between the Baltic countries will be created.
- To raise the efficiency of force generation, we are increasing the speed, protection and maximum range of units, and developing maritime warfare. We will increase our capability to influence the enemy with indirect fire from a distance by creating a MLRS unit. We will increase the anti-tank capabilities of territorial defence and brigades, and we will procure single-use mid-range anti-tank weapons for all infantry brigades. We are supplementing the aerial surveillance and anti-aircraft system, procuring new ammunition and supplies, while updating armoured manoeuvring capabilities. To deter the enemy on the seas, we will develop anti-ship capabilities and procure naval mines.
- Continuously developing intelligence gathering and communications capabilities is of key importance for ensuring the necessary e warning for Estonia and our NATO Allies.
- In terms of human resources, the reserve army is the cornerstone of our defence system, composed of men and women, who have undergone conscription. By 2025 the number of conscripts will increase to 4,000 and we will raise the number of active service members to 3,975 by 2030 and keep the salaries competitive.
- Investments to expanding national defence will continue. For that we will renovate the Ämari airfield and develop the Defence League’s headquarters and logistic centres. We will continue to build Defence Force exercise areas and storage facilities, in addition to undertaking a thorough overhaul of the infrastructure in our area of responsibility (including the Defence League headquarters and logistics centres). In addition, a modern War and Disaster Medicine Centre will be built in the Raadi area of Tartu, Estonia.
The share of the military part of the national development plan is over 8 billion Euros. To create additional capacities, the Ministry of Defence of Estonia has carried out reforms in its area of responsibility, aimed at economical and effective outcomes (for example, consolidating personnel services). A large part of the funds directed into state defence find its way back into the Estonian economy.
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