British fighter jets arrive to protect Estonia

Four British Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets have been deployed to the Ämari Air Base in Estonia in support of the Baltic Air Policing Mission.

The Royal Air Force reported that the jets from No 6 Squadron arrived on 5 May directly from RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, after a journey of a little over two hours. The four Typhoons will deploy until August and their detachment is augmented by four Norwegian aircraft in Lithuania.

Estonia’s foreign minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus said the presence of allies in Estonia is a clear message of NATO’s unity and readiness. “The activity of Russia’s air force in our region is several times more intense than in 2013. Protecting the alliance’s airspace at Ämari reinforces both Estonian security, as well as NATO’s collective defence as a whole,” she said.

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Chris Holtby, the British ambassador to Estonia, also delivered a speech to a multinational audience upon the arrival of UK Typhoons in Estonia.

The Baltic Air Policing mission was established in 2004 to assist Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who have no airborne air defence capability of their own. The aim of the mission is to prevent unauthorised incursion into the airspace of the Baltic states and its most frequent duty is intercepting Russian aircraft and escorting them from the area. To the west of the Baltic states’ airspace is an air corridor often used by aircraft traveling to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad from territorial Russia.

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Pictures courtesy of British Embassy in Tallinn and Royal Air Force.

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About the author: Silver Tambur

Silver Tambur is the cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Estonian World. He has previously studied journalism at the University of Tartu, and Politics & Society at the Birkbeck College, University of London. Silver has been the editor at the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s news service in English, as well as contributing for the Business Sense magazine in the UK, Deutsche Welle and Radio New Zealand. You can also follow him on Twitter. You can write to Silver at silver@estonianworld.com.