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WARSAW — The Estonian military is aiming to spend some 818 million euros (US $902 million) on acquisitions of new weapons and equipment by 2020, according to the country’s Defense Minister Hannes Hanso.

The planned procurements will include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), long-range anti-tank missile systems, personal weapons and munitions.

The Estonian minister told local broadcaster ERR that the Defense Ministry will spend a portion of the allocated amount on the Javelin anti-tank systems and arm them with long-range missiles.

Under the plan, work on launching the majority of the planned procurements is to begin in 2017. The Defense Minister did not confirm whether the majority of the acquisitions would be for new or used gear.

"Of course we want to equip our Defense Forces with the most modern and most up-to-date [weapons and equipment], but the taxpayers have to keep in mind that everything has financial limits," Hanso said.

Estonia and the remaining two Baltic States, Latvia and Lithuania, have intensified efforts to upgrade their military capabilities following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Estonia’s 2016 defense budget is to total 449 million euros, or about 2.07 percent of the country's gross domestic product, according to data from the ministry.

Email: jadamowski@defensenews.com

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