Challenger 2 tanks, AS90 artillery, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles and an array of other vehicle types have arrived in Estonia.
Earlier in the week, 120 Soldiers from the 5th Battalion The Rifles Battlegroup (5 RIFLES), including members of an Armoured Engineer Squadron, Military Police Detachment, Artillery Group and Port Task Group, arrived at Amari airbase.
They were welcomed by Estonia’s Defence Minister Margus Tsahkna, having flown from RAF Brize Norton by Voyager aircraft.
According to the government, the 120 soldiers are fundamental to setting up a UK headquarters in the country before the rest of the UK deployment arrives next month, increasing the total number of troops in Estonia to around 800.
According to a press release:
“The first of hundreds of UK military vehicles have arrived in Estonia to support the UK’s enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup based in Tapa, one of the largest ever NATO deployments to Eastern Europe.
Setting sail from Marchwood, Southampton, last Wednesday, the Roll-on-Roll-off ferry also stopped off in Emden, Germany, to collect Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, Challenger 2 tanks and AS90 self-propelled artillery guns. It also carried Terrier, Titan and Trojan armoured battlefield engineer vehicles. The vehicles will then be moved by road from the port to Tapa.”
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“This is the start of one of the biggest deployment in Eastern Europe since the Cold War and by the end of next month, we will have 800 British troops, with armour, with tanks, ready to help reassure our allies and to underline our commitment to the security of Europe
British troops are playing a leading role in Estonia and supporting our US allies in Poland, as part of wider efforts to defend NATO.”
French armoured vehicles, including tanks, are also due to arrive in Estonia via train after being loaded earlier in the week.