The Estonian Ministry of Defence announced on 10 January 2024, the signing of a proposal to develop a defence industrial park in Estonia for the production of various calibres of ammunition.
This move aims to boost European ammunition production capacity, which is considered insufficient given the current security environment and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Estonia’s Minister of Defence, Hanno Pevkur, emphasised the importance of this project in enhancing the nation’s defence capabilities and supporting allies by offering locally produced ammunition. The Ministry of Defence is also exploring the potential for establishing an explosives production facility in Estonia.
The planning and environmental assessment phase is expected to take about 1.5 years, after which construction can commence. The first production output is anticipated in approximately 2.5 years from now (2026/7).
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This development marks a significant step in Estonia’s commitment to enhancing its defence industry and contributing to the broader European security landscape.
At a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of the Council of the European Union on 16 November 2023, Pevkur slammed the inaction of EU decision makers over ramping up production of munitions, before announcing a four year commitment to spending 30% of Estonia’s defence budget toward producing ammunition. “Today we are in a situation, where we need to make real decisions, not discuss the need for making decisions. With our actions, Estonia aims to show the way,” said Pevkur.
The Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP), signed on 7 July, called on EU member states to restock their ammunition supplies to provide one million rounds of ammunition for Ukraine, and to jointly procure further ammunition.
Pevkur criticised the EU for not meeting the expectations it set out in Spring 2023 for the provision of ammunition, drawing attention to inaction by other parties in the EU. “If member states are neither prepared to provide from their stocks nor able to increase production, we have to refurbish ammunition and procure from third states. Expired ammunition cannot go to waste. “