According to Estonia state-run ERR agency, the Estonian Ministry of Defence will procure two force protection patrol boats which will be built by Estonian company “Baltic Workboats AS” on the island of Saaremaa and create 50 jobs. The deal is valued at €3.9 million.
The boats will be acquired within the framework of the current four-year development plan the Estonian Ministry of Defence. Saaremaa is the region worst-hit in Estonia by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Isamaa) said: “In the broader sense, the acquisition of new equipment sends a strong signal that we will continue the development of our national defence, which simply cannot be paused even in the middle of a crisis. However, it is important that we are also able to provide support in this way to the country’s economy and people as they emerge from the crisis.”
He said the acquisition of the patrol boats will enable them to fill smaller naval capability gaps, something that has been needed for many years.
The main function of the patrol boats is to ensure force protection at sea and in ports, of NATO and Partner naval vessels visiting Estonia.
The boats can also support in other tasks as identifying foreign vessels, commanding units at sea, conducting exercises, securing live-fire exercises, providing navigation practice for the cadets, as well as support other state agencies, especially the Police and Border Guard.
The patrol boats are 18 metres in length, have partial ballistic protection and are equipped with two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns. A remote-controlled weapon position can be added if necessary. The patrol boats have a top speed of over 30 knots. The boats are scheduled to be completed by the end of this year and enter into service with the Estonian Navy in 2021.