UK Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel and aircraft have been deployed to support UK-led Nato’s enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) in Estonia, under Operation Peleda.
The RAF has deployed around 100 personnel and teams from the Tactical Supply Wing, Joint Helicopter Support Squadron, 244 Signal Squadron as well as other RAF and British Army enablers.
The deployed assets include three CH-47F Chinook helicopters from the 18(B) Squadron based at RAF Odiham, England.
The Chinook aircraft have already arrived at Ämari Air Base in Estonia.
As part of the latest deployment, the RAF’s deployed forces and Chinooks will work in close coordination with the Estonian Defence Forces to further enhance the capabilities and interoperability of both the nations’ troops.
The Chinook fleet has been deployed to provide heavy-lift rotary capability, which is not available with Estonian forces.
During the initial week of the deployment, Chinooks were deployed to transport senior officials and representatives, including UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and other European defence ministers, to Tapa Camp to announce Tallinn Pledge for Ukraine.
The helicopters and Estonian forces also carried out joint training drills.
Meanwhile, the deployed RAF and Army troops completed a Cold Weather Operator Course to prepare themselves to cope with Estonia’s cold weather.
Between January and late February, the RAF will also deploy its Aviation Task Force 3 to Estonia, while Chinooks’ deployments will follow later this year.
The latest activity is part of the UK-Estonia bilateral agreement signed last year in November to strengthen defence and security in the Baltic states, alongside Nato EFP.