The Estonian National Defence Investment Centre on 18 October signed contracts with Turkish manufacturers Nurol Makina and Otokar to purchase around 230 armoured vehicles for the Estonian Defence Forces, as well as four vehicles for the Estonian Police and Rescue Board’s mine clearance department.
“The purpose of the armoured vehicles is to protect the members of the Defence Forces in combat situations, so that their redeployment on the battlefield is as quick and safe as possible,” the centre said in a statement.
The vehicles will be acquired for the 2nd Infantry Brigade of the Estonian Defence Forces, which previously had no armoured wheeled vehicles.
The vehicles include four-wheel as well as six-wheel drive trucks and the first deliveries are expected in 2024. The 4×4 armoured vehicle model is NMS and will be supplied by Nurol Makina; the 6×6 armoured vehicle model is Otokar Arma.
“The protection of Estonian service members in a dangerous situation is a priority for us. Considering the current security situation, it was an important part of our procurement conditions that the first machines should arrive in Estonia as early as possible,” Karmo Saar, a representative of the Defence Investment Centre, said.
“This was a large and technically complex procurement with extremely close competition, with nine companies from six countries participating. The tender was structured in such a way that the armoured vehicles had to meet our technical requirements and quality standards, and the best bids were selected on the basis of the fastest delivery time and price. The successful bids were submitted by Turkish companies Nurol Makina and Otokar, which have long experience in building armoured vehicles,” Saar added.
The new armoured vehicles will be certified for both small arms fire and mine blast protection; they are also equipped with a smoke grenade launcher and a 12.7mm heavy machine gun mounted on a turret.
Estonia and Turkey also signed a memorandum of understanding, which will create the basis for cooperation between the two countries’ defence industries.