Two force protection vessels which the Estonian Navy (Merevägi) acquired late last year have arrived at their home port, the sea mine harbor (Miinisadam) in Tallinn.

The vessels, the ENS Roland and ENS Risto, are Saaremaa-made, and will allow the navy to, among other things, install and integrate improved monitoring and communications equipment of Estonia's coasts, the navy's commander, Cdre. Jüri Saska, said Tuesday, according to the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) website (link in Estonian).

"Without a doubt, we will still have a lot to learn in order to fully exploit the potential of the launches," Cdre. Saska added, noting that full readiness was expected in the third quarter of this year.

The navy took delivery of the two vessels last December, making them the first ships built to order since the restoration of independence in 1991. The navy's fleet up until then primarily consisted of British- and also Danish-made minehunter vessels.

The ENS Risto and the ENS Roland were built by the Saaremaa-based Baltic Workboats AS (BWB).

The two boats are to be fully fitted-out with their monitoring and communications equipment, not to mention armaments, in the coming weeks, the navy says.

The vessels, whose other major task is to ensure the military protection of warships of allies and partners visiting Estonia at sea and in ports, will also be made available for cadet training.

Primarily constructed out of aluminium, the vessels are 17.25 meters long, 4.9 meters wide, 1.5 meters deep and their two main Volvo Penta D13MH power plants provide a speed of over 30 knots.

Each vessel has a crew of four, while they are to be kitted-out with 12.7 mm remote weapon system and two 7.62 mm machine guns, the navy says.

One of the navy's main functions is also to act both in clearing historic sea mines and other ordnance and obstacles dating back to world war two and the ensuing Soviet occupation, as well as, in conjunction with Estonian defense doctrine in the coming years, laying new, state-of-the-art mines.

The navy also takes an active part in the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCG1), with the ENS Ugandi most recently contributing to this activity.

Source: ERR


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