Renewed: 10.12.2013, 14:10

10 December 2013 13:30

First conscripts trained on armoured vehicles enter service

First conscripts trained on armoured vehicles enter service First conscripts trained on armoured vehicles enter service

First conscripts graduating Kalev Infantry Battalion junior non-commissioned officer program on armoured vehicles begin their service this week. Operating together as a mechanized unit, at Tapa in the North-Eastern Defence District, conscripts demonstrated their skills last week.

Around 70 conscript members of Estonian Defence Forces, specializing in operating with Sisu Xa-180 armoured vehicles, will be assigned to the reserves with the top graduates being selected for further training as platoon leaders.

According to Commander Kalev Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Hannes Alesmaa, the armoured vehicle training given to conscripts fulfills an envisioned goal for the Defence Forces whereby the entire 1st Infantry Brigade would become a mechanized unit. Until now the use of armoured vehicles has been exclusive to the professional active duty members of the Scouts Battalion. The armoured vehicles Sisu Xa-180 and XA 188 have been used in ISAF operation in Afghanistan.

The government approved new National Defence Development Plan 2013-2022 outlines the Defence Forces´ armoured vehicle manoeuvrability capability. The active duty members of the Scouts Battalion will receive modern infantry combat vehicles, the rest of the manoeuvre battalions will be supplied with armoured vehicles.

Kalev Battalion conscript training with armoured vehicles was initiated by Defence Forces this autumn. First conscripts to receive training in armoured vehicles began their service in July, with specialized education program after their basic training completion mid-September.

Sisu XA-180 EST was first used by Estonian Defence Forces in 2004. The Defence Forces procured Sisu XA -188 armoured vehicles from the Netherlands in 2010. Compared to the earlier model Sisu XA -188 has stronger armour along with longer lasting basic armour defence against IEDs and landmines that will withstand attacks from up to 14.5 mm calibre weapons.

Sisu XA manufactured in Finland, is a six wheeled infantry armoured transport vehicle initially produced for the Finnish Defence Forces.

Estonian Defence Forces currently have 56 XA180 and 52 XA188 armoured vehicles in use, with 25 more XA188 vehicles being delivered in 2015.

Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, 717 1900, mil[at], Juhkentali 58, EE15007, Tallinn, Estonia.

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