Estonia Acquires CV90 IFVs from Netherlands in Biggest Procurement Ever
The Netherlands and Estonia signed an agreement on Dec. 9/14 for the sale of 44 CV 9035NL Mk-III tracked infantry fighting vehicles. These vehicles are used but were acquired in recent years before the Netherlands decided it no longer needed them, or more accurately, could afford them. The Dutch had announced their intent to sell these vehicles in September 2013, and Estonia had been revealed as their buyer in October 2014.
Russia was already making Estonia nervous after cyber attacks in 2007, but the Baltic states have had even more reason to worry after the events that unfolded in Ukraine through 2014. For Estonia, clearly annexations have consequences.
According to the defense ministry, the Netherlands had ordered a total of 193 CV90s from BAE Systems Hägglunds AB in Sweden, in infantry transport and command/control configurations. Deliveries took place between 2008 and 2011, so by the time Estonia receives them they will still have 2 decades of use in them. The Royal Netherlands Army’s remaining fleet is now comprised of 132 CV90s.
Given that the initial contract placed by the Dutch in December 2004 for 184 vehicles was valued at €749 million ($931M at today’s exchange rate), a 113 million euros ($141M) acquisition looks like a pretty good deal for the Estonians. Especially given the fact that this agreement includes maintenance toolkits, training, spares, and even ammunition.
There’s a long history of used sales between the two countries that goes back to 2004 and includes the sale of XA-188 APCs in 2010. The Dutch also sold their remaining Leopard tanks to Finland in early 2014. (Incidentally Finland is also a CV90 user.)
Astute readers will note that 193-44=149, leaving 17 vehicles apparently unaccounted for. To rule out one theory, defense correspondent and photographer Pieter Bastiaans tells us that Dutch CV90s were not used in Afghanistan, unlike those of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. The Netherlands got 192 CV90s (plus 1 prototype), with 8 assigned to training on top of 184 operational vehicles. So 132 remaining IFVs + 8 training vehicles + 44 to Estonia leaves 8 vehicles that were presumably damaged beyond repair. M. Bastiaans also reports that of the remaining Dutch fleet of 132, 44 will be withdrawn from operational service, mostly to be used for parts with a few kept for training.
Readings & Sources
- Ministerie van Defensie – Verkoop voertuigen aan Estland bezegeld met contract [in Dutch]
- Ministerie van Defensie – Combat Vehicle 90 [in English]
- Estonian Ministry of Defense – Defence Minister Mikser signs Estonia’s biggest arms deal
- American Enterprise Institute (a conservative US think tank) – Dutch hard power: Choosing decline