TALLINN - On Tuesday in London, Minister of Defense of Estonia Hanno Pevkur and British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace signed an agreement that sets out the activities of Estonia and the United Kingdom in the coming year to implement decisions taken at the NATO summit in Madrid.
"We reached agreement on the significantly increased contribution of the United Kingdom 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 battle group will be deployed to Estonia for the large-scale exercise Kevadtorm (Spring Storm)," Pevkur commented on the reached agreement.
"During the year, the United Kingdom will also contribute to increasing security on the Baltic Sea and hold a brigade-sized force at high readiness in the United Kingdom. In terms of planning, the force will be calculated into the Estonian division structure, and it will be ready to reinforce Estonia immediately in case of need. In addition, the United Kingdom will maintain the multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), brought to Estonia in summer 2022 to reinforce the allied battle group, and the short range air defense systems Stormer,” he added.
"The United Kingdom’s commitment to Estonia and European defense 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," the British defense secretary, Ben Wallace, said.
"The roadmap we signed today is a firm step forward fulfilling the commitments taken in Madrid. It will be a guide for us in moving towards more specific task assignment. For example, the United Kingdom will activate a forward headquarters led by a brigadier general in Estonia during the Kevadtorm 2023 exercise, which will be developed from the existing enhanced forward presence (eFP) command and which will coordinate the activities, training, surges of British land forces in the region and support the development of the Estonian division," the Estonian defense minister added.
The Estonian contribution to strengthening defense cooperation will be in the form of developing the Estonian division, which in the future will command within the NATO chain of command the most important operations in Estonia, the permanent allied presence in Estonia, and the allied reinforcement units.
In addition, Estonia will improve host nation support capabilities by building additional accommodation at the Tapa military compound by May 2023. In the south of Estonia, a new reception staging onward movement (RSOM) area will be completed in 2023 and work will commence for the development of the necessary infrastructure for receiving allied forces.