Today, the Reception, Staging and Onward Movement (RSOM) area on the territory of the Tapa military campus was opened, along with the heavy machinery road built in the campus. The new infrastructure creates a base for Allied units for participation in short-term exercises or relocations, and enhances both Estonia’s independent and NATO’s defence capabilities by creating the conditions necessary for rapid, timely and effective action.
According to Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, the opening of the collection of infrastructure objects plays a key role in NATO’s collective defence on Estonian soil. ‘The better the conditions we create for Allied forces, and support and continuation forces arriving during exercises or in crisis situations, the more natural and effective the preparation of NATO collective defence within Estonia’s territory will become’, noted Luik.
He added that it was especially gratifying to acknowledge that the RSMO area meeting NATO requirements was completed first in Estonia. ‘Infrastructure for the reception and movement of Allied forces – the road and rail network – has reached an excellent level. However, the completion of infrastructure does not mean that we have reached the end of the journey. It must find active use in Allied training exercises, which will strengthen NATO’s deterrence and security,’ stated Luik.
‘Thus far we have had to house rotating Allied units on temporary premises, which has also led to additional costs and difficulties in meeting all requirements in a timely and expeditious manner. There is no longer a need to rent temporary premises for the Allies’, said Mart Salusaar, Head of the Construction Bureau in the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment.
NATO RSOM, or Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, means the assembly area of the Tapa military campus, which consists of a storage area for equipment and means of transport, accommodation, repair and catering halls, camping areas, a fuel and hazardous waste management area, and the expansion of the medical centre, including a helipad.
The whole project was carried out in cooperation between NATO and Estonia. The total cost of the project is EUR 20 million, which was financed through the NATO Security Investment Programme (NSIP).
‘Estonia was lucky to be among the first to successfully implement the investment, thereby strengthening its position of deterrence and defence on the eastern edge of the Alliance’, said Salusaar. ‘Our construction partner, Nordecon, also played a very important role in such a high-quality end result, having been able to meet the construction requirements we set at such a professional level’, he added.
The opening of the RSOM area is a follow-up to the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, where the decision was made to create the NATO Rapid Reaction Force and NATO’s need to invest in the construction of the infrastructure needed to accept Allies in NATO’s Eastern European member states, to prevent possible aggression in Central and Eastern Europe in light of a changed security environment, was defined.
In addition, the joint NATO-Estonia project includes a heavy equipment road connecting Estonia’s largest military campus with the largest training field being used by the Defence Forces, with the aim being to connect two objects of importance to the Defence Forces in order to facilitate the movement of (heavy) equipment from the campus to the training area and back.
‘The heavy equipment connection road will reduce the load on local public roads, the Defence Forces’ own transport costs will be reduced, and it will also be possible to drive directly from the campus to the Defence Forces’ central training area on crawler machines, which is a significant change in terms of capability development’, said Salusaar. ‘The current route has been twice as long, with the costs and impacts on local traffic being higher’, he added.
Nordecon AS built both the assembly area and the heavy machinery section inside the campus. In addition, AS Tariston and GRK Infra AS have contributed to the construction of the heavy equipment road.