16 May 2019

Armed Forces Minister visits RAF in Estonia

The Rt. Hon. Mark Lancaster TD MP has visited the RAF in Estonia to assess the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic.

The RAF in Estonia are deployed as 121 EAW and are conducting Op AZOTIZE – the RAF NATO Air Policing mission in the Baltic. After meeting many of the deployed RAF personnel including aircrew, engineers and other support staff the Minister was shown around a Typhoon and then visited the deployed Army Air Corps Wildcat and Apache attack helicopter detachment that are co-located at Amari Air Base Estonia.

The visit coincided with the start of Exercise Spring Storm, an Estonian training exercise which the deployed British forces will participate in. The Minister was shown around the base and met high ranking officers as well as learning the key features of the mission.

The Minister for the Armed Forces said: “The RAF’s commitment to NATO’s enhanced Air Policing continues with Operation AZOTIZE here in Estonia. The deployment of our UK Typhoons is a clear demonstration of our commitment to the region and our NATO allies.”

“The annual Exercise SPRING STORM brings together Army Air Corps Wildcat and Apache aircraft with our Typhoons to support Estonian and UK troops on the ground. The reinforce NATO interoperability and improve our collective capabilities.  On Friday, HMS Westminster joins the air and land forces in Estonia underlining the truly joint nature of UK and NATO activities in the region.”

At the end of the visit, the Minister ate with various personnel along with Estonian base commander, the head of the Estonian Air Force, Wing Commander Dave Boreham the Detachment commander and the Officer Commanding XI(F) Squadron Wing Commander Paul O’Grady. The chefs demonstrated the skills they had gained during training and came from RAF Wittering based 3 Mobile Catering Squadron RAF.

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