07 Apr 2017

UK troops bolster NATO Enhanced Forward Presence

UK troops have arrived in Poland and Estonia as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence and the UK’s enduring commitment to the region.

Some 150 UK troops from the Army’s Light Dragoons have arrived in Poland to support a US-led battle-group, while further troops landed in Estonia to join the 800-strong British-led battle group based there.

The arrival of these troops means that there are nearly 1,000 UK soldiers providing deterrence in Eastern Europe, which will be augmented by the deployment of RAF Typhoon aircraft to Romania later this year, to carry out a NATO Air Policing mission in the Black Sea.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “The UK is stepping up its support for NATO’s collective defence through our deployments across the alliance.

“British personnel are playing a leading role in NATO: delivering deterrence and defence in Estonia and Poland and air policing in Romania underlines our commitment to the security of Europe.”

The Light Dragoons will be based in Poland for at least six months, after which they will be replaced by another unit.

Soldiers from 5 Rifles battle group and The Queen’s Royal Hussars have travelled to Estonia to work under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wilson.

Bidding goodbye to the troops at RAF Brize Norton, Defence Minister Earl Howe said: “The men and women of 5 Rifles have travelled to Estonia as a part of the biggest reinforcement of NATO’s collective defence in a generation, standing by our allies and working closely with forces from across the Alliance.”

Along with the troops, some 200 vehicles including Jackal and Coyote light reconnaissance, Warrior, and Panther vehicles have been deployed to provide support, while two trains carrying French vehicles arrive in Tapa, Estonia, last week to help bolster the UK-led battalion.

Image: © Estonian Defence Forces

 

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