Royal Air Force heavy lift aircraft have delivered a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) to the British Army during a major NATO exercise in Estonia.

This operation is part of Exercise Swift Response, which is integrated into Steadfast Defender 24 – NATO’s largest exercise since the Cold War.

Exercise Swift Response included high and medium-level paratrooper drops, with additional air support provided by RAF Chinooks, British Army Apaches and Wildcats, and various NATO aircraft, including those from the United States Air Force.

“The UK’s contribution to this major NATO exercise shows that we are taking a very real threat seriously through a necessary presence to deter Russia,” said His Majesty’s Ambassador to Estonia, Mr Ross Allen, in a press release.

Mr Allen also commended the RAF’s versatility and capability. “This week the RAF have proved their versatility and ability to work closely with the Army alongside our allies in a battlefield scenario. I was delighted to fly in the Atlas myself and witness first-hand this extremely capable aircraft and highly professional crew who can switch between several roles in operations and exercises across the globe.”

Emphasising Estonia’s safety and strategic importance, Mr Allen added, “I would like to emphasise that Estonia is a very safe country that is part of the EU and NATO, where I live with my family and one that people should not be deterred from visiting. It is a popular tourist destination and a good place to do business, which is why the reassurances that exercises such as Swift Response provide are important. The RAF and United Kingdom are committed to NATO who in turn is committed to Estonia’s defence and values in an international order based on rules and mutual respect.”

The Atlas crews, known for their efficiency in moving people and equipment, tested a Rapid Air Land (RAL) operation where vital equipment is swiftly moved across the battlefield. At Kiltsi airstrip, VIPs, including the UK Ambassador and Estonian Defence Minister, witnessed an Atlas deploying an MLRS overseas for the first time.

The week concluded with a paratrooper drop of the 16 Air Assault Brigade over the island of Saaremaa.

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Lisa has a degree in Media & Communication from Glasgow Caledonian University and works with industry news, sifting through press releases in addition to moderating website comments.
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