US drones temporarily based in Baltics

The United States has temporarily deployed two MQ-9 Reaper drones to the Ämari Air Base in Estonia to conduct surveillance flights over the Baltic states.

This marks the first time the unmanned, ground-operated drones have flown from Estonia, though they have been used in the Baltic airspace before, Estonian public broadcaster ERR  reported on July 2.

The drones were temporarily moved from Miroslawiec Air Base in Poland, while its runway is under construction. The aircraft have been operating out of Poland since May 2018.

“We fly over all three Baltic countries a couple of times a week. Now that we are here, we can start flying every day,” Omar Rashid, the drone operator was quoted by ERR.

“We are conducting reconnaissance and surveillance flights for the U.S. European Command,” said Jason Hinds, US military official in Europe.

These type of drones have been used predominantly by the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as other theatres of operations to conduct long-range surveillance. The Reaper drones can also be armed with missiles.


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