The UK to station Chinook and Apache helicopters in Estonia

Estonia and the UK on 8 November signed an agreement that sets out the countries’ activities to implement decisions taken at the NATO summit in Madrid; the countries agreed the UK will deploy Chinook and Apache helicopters in Estonia, among other contributions.

The agreement was signed in London by the Estonian defence minister, Hanno Pevkur, and the UK defence secretary, Ben Wallace.

“We reached agreement on the significantly increased contribution of the UK to Estonia’s security in the coming year. In January, Chinook helicopters will arrive in Estonia, in March Apache helicopters, in April Typhoon fighters, and in May an additional battlegroup will be deployed to Estonia for the large-scale exercise Spring Storm,” Pevkur said in a statement.

“During the year, the UK will also contribute to increasing security on the Baltic Sea and the UK will hold a brigade sized force at high readiness in the UK. In terms of planning, it will be calculated into the Estonian division structure, and it will be ready to reinforce Estonia immediately in case of need. In addition, the UK will maintain the multiple launch rocket systems, brought to Estonia in summer 2022 to reinforce the allied battlegroup, and the short-range air defence systems Stormer.”

The British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, meeting his Estonian counterpart, Hanno Pevkur, in London on 8 November 2022. Photo by the Estonian defence ministry.

An Estonian division to lead the most important operations

“The UK’s commitment to Estonia and European defence and security is unwavering. The deployment of assets such as Apache and Chinook helicopters to exercise in Estonia is a clear example of the strength of our relationship, and the importance we place on our ability to effectively operate side by side,” Wallace added.

The Estonian contribution to strengthening defence cooperation will be in the form of developing the Estonian division, which in the future will lead within the NATO chain of command the most important operations in Estonia, the permanent allied presence in Estonia, and the allied reinforcement units, the country’s defence ministry said.

In addition, Estonia will improve “host nation support” capabilities by building additional accommodation at the Tapa military base by May 2023.

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