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The Maavägi, ( ) is the name of the unified ground forces of the Republic of Estoniamarker. The Ground Forces have an offensive military formation role among the Estonian Defence Forces. The average size of the military formation in peacetime is about 5,000 of whom about 2,200 are conscripts. The Army component of the operational structure consists of an infantry brigade and a homeland security structure. Infantry brigade acts as a training and support frame for deployable units. Homeland security structure units will have the capability to carry out territorial military tasks and support civil structures.

The Army development priorities are the capability to participate in missions outside the national territory and the capability to perform operations to protect the territory of Estonia, also in co-operation with the Allies.

The Reserve Army

The Estonian Army is structured according to the principle of a reserve force which means that the main part of the defence forces of the state are units in the reserve. For a state with few human and economic resources, a reserve force based on the will of defence of the citizens is the only viable form of national defence.

In peacetime the reservists conduct normal lives and the state takes care of their training and the procurement of equipment and weapons. In wartime the reservists are mobilized into military units. The reserve units are formed on the territorial principle, i.e. conscripts from one area are called up at one time to one unit and after service they are sent to the reserve as one unit. The Estonian Army is always in constant defence readiness in co-operation with the other services.


Maavägi Structure
1st Infantry Brigade

Northeastern Defense District (Tapamarker)

Northern Defense District (Tallinnmarker)

Southern Defense District (Tartumarker)
Western Defense District (Pärnumarker)


Since the restoration of the Estonian Defence Forces on September 3 1991 the Maavägi has developed with a great deal. Today the Ground Force operates with modern weapons and weapon-systems on foreign missions and future battlefields. Even though the current logistic support is still based on variety of different and mainly older Western vehicles, also former Sovietmarker, the modernization of the army branch is in the national defence policy agenda. In recent years Estonia has purchased more modern transport vehicles for the armed forces of the republic.


Estonian Staff Sgt.
Sigmar Zelinski and Cpl.
Eiko Oim from the Scouts Battalion, Estonian Defense Forces, Estonian Peacekeeping Center, take aim while patrolling a street in Baghdad, Iraq
Estonian soldiers in Afghanistan
Estonia has participated in international military operations since 1995. The participation in international operations represents an important contribution to co-operation with NATO and other international organizations. In addition to planned operations, the Defence Forces are also participating in the NATO and EU response force that ensure prompt responses to crises emerging in today’s rapid world, including the rapid implementation of collective self-defence.

In 2004, Estoniamarker joined NATOmarker, which had been one of its foremost priorities since the restoration of independence. The United Statesmarker is among the countries with which Estonia has very close cooperation in the defense and security fields. Estonia utilizes many weapons produced by Israel Military Industries.
Location Mission Size
Estonian Afghanistan Contingent
Estonian Kosovo Contingent
Estonia currently has 300 soldiers, or about 6% of its total active military force, fighting alongside British Forces in Afghanistan. Units are regularly rotated. Estonia also provides peacekeepers for international missions in both Bosnia and Kosovo and contributes to EU battlegroups and NATO Response Force rotations.

See also


  1. Eesti Kaitseväe ajalugu

External links

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