Two brand new patrol boats, christened Risto and Roland, have been handed over to the Estonian Navy – the first ones built in post-Soviet occupation independent Estonia.
Built by the Saaremaa-based Estonian company, Baltic Workboats, the patrol boats are meant to ensure the military protection of NATO and its partner countries’ warships visiting Estonia at sea and in ports. The vessels can also be used for intelligence missions, to identify foreign ships.
The patrol boats are 18 metres (59 feet) long. They will be fitted with partial ballistic protection, two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns and a remotely controlled weapon station 12.7 mm FN Sea deFNder. The speed of the boats is over 30 knots.
“I am confident that these boats, built by Saaremaa islanders, are among the best in their class in the world, and it is vital that one of our navy’s critical capability gaps is now filled. It is also important that the procurement of boats supports Estonian business at a critical economic period,” Jüri Luik, the Estonian defence minister, said in a statement. According to him, the boats were purchased at an optimal price, they are seaworthy, with modern equipment and armaments, and if necessary, they can also be used in civil crises.
The builder, Baltic Workboats, is a modern, well-equipped shipyard with a highly skilled workforce of over 200 people. The company has delivered more than 200 highly versatile vessels, designed and built for the demands of governments, research institutions and multinational companies in over 20 countries worldwide.
Images courtesy of the Estonian Defence Forces.