While Estonia's new defense development plan calls for starting the development of a tank battalion and a medium range air defense battalion, the decision as regards developing these capabilities is to be made in 2016.
Decision about tanks, medium range air defense unit to be made in 2016
The new national defense development plan for 2013-2022 that the government approved on Thursday sets out, among other things, the need for heavy armored maneuver capability, or tanks, as well as for medium range air defense capability. The plan states, however, that by the year 2022 it is possible to start developing these capabilities but not fully develop them. The decision as regards when exactly the development of the tank battalion and medium range air defense battalion is to be completed will be made at the time of drafting of the next national defense development plan in 2016.
As far as ground forces go, the development plan envisages the creation of rapid response infantry brigades, developing of armored maneuver capability and strengthening of anti-tank capability.
Under the development plan, the 1st Infantry Brigade will be fully equipped and armed, and armored maneuver capability developed within it. For the all-professional Scouts Battalion, which is part of the 1st Infantry Brigade, modern infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) will be acquired while the rest of the brigade's maneuver battalions will be equipped with armored personnel carriers.
The commander of the defense forces, Brig. Gen. Riho Terras, told BNS that armored maneuver capability will not start to be developed before 2015. When the Scouts battalion gets IFVs the rest of the maneuver battalions of the 1st Brigade will be equipped with existing armored personnel carriers.
Besides the 2nd Infantry Brigade will be created and fully developed by 2022.
For both brigades modern anti-tank missile systems are to be acquired. Besides 155 millimeter self-propelled artillery units are to be bought for the Estonian defense forces.