The United Kingdom is planning a combined landing operations exercise in Estonia in summer 2019 that will involve the army as well as the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. The British Army will also increase the amount of armoured equipment of the battle group present in Estonia, bringing in more tanks and later in the year replace much of its armour in a large-scale equipment transfer.
The UK is lead nation of NATO’s multinational battalion battle group in Estonia. The British Army is planning to rehearse cooperation between different services of the armed forces more broadly, and also increase the share of heavy armour in the next rotation of its troop contingent.
The exercise will mark the first deployment of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) to Estonia. The British Navy has staged similar exercises in different places and in collaboration with different nations. The exercise in Estonia next summer is a test of skills and a demonstration of the JEF’s capabilities, ERR’s Aktuaalne kaamera newscast reported.
The British defense attache in Tallinn, Cmdr Gary Brooks, said that the exercise is set for around July. Chief of the NATO contingent in Estonia Col Giles Harris added that his unit will take part in the exercise as well.
“The JEF exercise next year is an opportunity for us to test and demonstrate the coalition forces behind what you have here now,” Harris said.
The deployment of the next rotation will double the number of British tanks from 10 to 20. Time spent on the active training of cooperation with navy and air force units will increase.
For the annual Spring Storm exercise, the UK will bring Wildcat reconnaissance helicopters as well as Apache attack helicopters to Estonia.
The UK will also deploy fighter jets and Air Force personnel to Estonia next year for a rotation in the NATO Baltic air policing mission at Ämari air base from April to August.