Estonia to upgrade field artillery | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 17, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 17, 2008

Estonia to upgrade field artillery

Estonia's Ministry of Defense (MoD) has launched a twin-track proposal to purchase new or secondhand field artillery for the Estonian Army's Suurtükiväegrupp, or Artillery Group.
Exploratory talks have opened with Finland, which plans to offload part of its stock of 122mm Soviet-made howitzers.
Finland has been searching for buyers for up to 36 surplus Soviet-made 122H63 122mm howitzers since mid-2007. The 122H63s were first used in East Germany, and procured by Finland in the 1960s and 1970s.
"Estonia is interested in negotiating a purchase deal with Finland but if the price is discounted and right for us," said Estonia's Defense Minister Jaak Laaneots.
The procurement would form part of the Suurtükiväegrupp's modernization program to upgrade equipment by replacing its stock of 105mm and 155mm FH-70 howitzers with modern self-propelled pieces.
"Our limited ability to finance major acquisitions is likely to stop us from purchasing new howitzers. Even the modern and light 105mm units are very expensive," said Laaneots.
"If we can strike a deal with Estonia, the sum will be symbolic rather than large," said a spokesman at Finland's MoD.
The Suurtükiväegrupp has a supportive military formation role within the Estonian Army. Where other units have an artillery or a mortar component, the Artillery Group is a unit dedicated to artillery and relying on other units for infantry support. The MoD is considering adding a second Artillery Group.

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