Challenger tanks, Warrior armoured fighting vehicles, unmanned aircraft and 800 troops will deploy to Estonia to counter Russia.

Following the decision that the UK will deliver one of four battalions to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic States and Poland, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed the UK will be sending 800 personnel to Estonia, with France and Denmark contributing further troops.

The deployment will include armoured Infantry, equipped with Warrior armoured fighting vehicles, tactical UAVs, and a troop of Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks. Detailed planning with Estonia is well under way and the first deployments are expected to begin in May next year.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“Backed by a rising defence budget this deployment of air, land and sea forces shows that we will continue to play a leading role in NATO, supporting the defence and security of our allies from the north to the south of the alliance.”

The announcement comes after the Defence Secretary confirmed at the weekend that the UK will deploy a 28-strong team to Kosovo for a year. This increase to our contribution to the KFOR Mission, NATO’s largest operation, will help to maintain a safe and secure environment for all communities in Kosovo. The UK deployment will also provide reassurance in the Western Balkan region from early 2017.


  1. ‘a troop of Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks.’ Is this a typo or are they really going to send one solitary troop of Challengers on this mission??

  2. A rising budget but the smallest army we’ve had since the Napoleonic wars. The thin red line stretched to breaking point?

    • Indeed. A Rising budget to meet the gaping holes our armed forces endured after years of budget cuts which still isn’t enough to meet requirements in every sector of our armed forces…

    • It is a PR move, Russia is not currently a real threat.

      Only real issue is its hard to tell when things go from postering to cold war 2, but i don’t think we are really there however much the news wants to make it, mainly because Russia is a shadow of the USSR.

      • It’s certainly a flag waving exercise more than anything, but we keep sending overstretched forces all over the place when we don’t really have the manpower or kit. Seems to me the government wants to be a global player but only paying for virtually home defence numbers of troops

  3. 800 troops and a few armoured vehicles – defending a 200 mile border and over a million Estonians. Those troops know fully well they’ll be overrun in the eventuality of a russian offensive, and I have nothing but mad respect for their bravery.

    • I would hope that our intel guys are closely watching Russia and that any large scale deployment, is carefully monitored. I would suspect if Russia really decided to attack with a force that could take on 800 troops, we would either pull out or reinforce.

      Ukraine was very special, in that it didnt’ require a large scale deployment from Russia and so could be done secretely.

      Unforuntely for Estonia, there is no way that NATO could realistically defend its eastern front and so Estonia is basically a speed bump giving time to reinforce the western nato countries.

  4. Typical political tokenism. Place the bare minimum on the ground.
    Have the 200 Challengers and 20 Apaches been taken out of dry storage yet?

    • It is unclear if those 20 apaches still exist or not. I tried to find out what happened to them but some reports indicate they have been used as spare parts, which would indicate that they may not be usable anymore.

  5. I really do not understand Michael Fallon thinking here we are about to leave the EU and once again we are cutting are forces Russia has recieved another 100 x T -14 which are reported to be the best tank in the world. We are about to send 800 troops to the Russian Border and we see below we are cutting the army tank regiments
    This was sufficient to upgrade all of the Challenger 2 MBTs used by the three tank regiments plus additional vehicles for training and war reserve.
    Under the latest restructuring of the British Army the number of Challenger 2 regiments could be reduced to just two so the 227 figure could well be reduced.
    The United Kingdom could end up with one of the smallest MBTs fleets in Europe just as other key members of NATO are increasing their MBT fleets.
    At the end of the two-year AP, one contractor will be selected not only for the Demonstration, Manufacture and In-Service (DMI) but also to become the Design Authority (DA) for the Challenger 2 until its projected out of service date on 2035 I hope Donald Trump dosnt see this ??

  6. Announced to Parliament by UK defence secretary Michael Fallon on 15 December, the move will however see the British Army lose one of its three Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) regiments. The unit will instead convert to the Ajax vehicle.
    Under what Fallon called the “Army 2020 Refine” process, four infantry battalions will become specialised advisory units for the experimental group. He also said that two new army reserve infantry battalions and a reserve explosive ordnance disposal regiment would be formed from 2017.
    “The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) significantly increased the readiness levels required of the army, underpinned by investment in new capability and a war-fighting division as part of Joint Force 2025,” Fallon said in a written ministerial statement announcing the start of the strike brigade project.
    The Strike Experimentation Group is planned to be set up in Warminster by 2017 and army sources say the units involved would likely transition into the first strike brigade by the end of the decade. The 1st Strike Brigade will have two units equipped with the Ajax vehicle, including the Household Cavalry Regiment and the King’s Royal Hussars, which currently operates Challenger 2s. The 1st Battalion Scots Guards and The Highlanders, 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland will serve in the brigade with the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV).


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