The exercise consisted of CH-47 Chinook helicopters, escorted by Black Hawk helicopters, dropping off infantrymen with the British army’s 5th Battalion, The Rifles, on their mission to secure a civilian motorway.
They were able to practice these specific air maneuvers the day before during a separate exercise that seized an objective and acquired a high value target at Saase Training Area, Estonia.
The US Department of Defense billed the exercise as an opportunity for US, British and Estonian soldiers, as well as local law enforcement, to come together under a unified command to successfully land A-10 aircraft in a civilian area.
British Army Lt. Col. Andrew Ridland, commander of the Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group, explained the importance of combined events like this:
“This is all about air-land integration. This exercise comes a week after Vice President Mike Pence visited Estonia and spoke about how Enhanced Forward Presence is the embodiment of NATO in many respects. What we’ve got today is my soldiers working with American helicopters and planes demonstrating operations with our allies.”
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Spencer Burkhalter, deputy chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation in Tallinn, Estonia said:
“The planning took over six months to make this happen as successfully as in the past. On the Estonian side there was a lot of ground work to cover.
Their military police worked with local police to close this road. On the American side, the A-10 pilots planned the flight mission. In addition to those elements, the British component provided security for the airfield in an assault exercise conducted before landing.”
After the British soldiers created a defensive perimeter around the area, the Warthogs began their descent, and after landing were assessed by a maintenance crew before taking off on the same strip of road