Wildcat and Apache helicopters will be deployed to Estonia this year, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced.

The MoD say that the aircraft will provide aviation training opportunities to NATO allies on Estonia’s annual Exercise Spring Storm as well as to the UK-led battlegroup on NATO enhanced Forward Presence.

“The helicopter deployment will boost our contingent to around 1,000 personnel in the Baltics, making the UK the largest contributor to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence – further reinforcing the Alliance’s deterrence and defence posture.”

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Whenever the call comes from NATO, the UK has always been ready to reach into its full spectrum of capabilities and offer its support.

That’s why we’re bolstering training in Estonia by deploying some of the world’s most advanced helicopters to the country.”

Williamson also discussed a range of issues with counterparts – noting the continued progress being made by allies on defence spending and encouraging others to follow the example set out by the UK.

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Levi Goldsteinberg

“noting the continued progress being made by allies on defence spending and encouraging others to follow the example set out by the UK.”

Am I taking crazy pills or does that seem laughably hypocritical

Daniele Mandelli

I like Williamson over all other DS in recent times.

But he is still a politician and will end up talking utter cobblers, exaggerating, and generally talking up the UK military while ignoring certain elephants in the room – Dreadnaught in core budget, minimal numbers, poor recruitment, and so on.

If he gets more money for defence spent in the r8ght areas he is forgiven.


Daniele, may I ask you what you think the right aeras are? Western equipment is expensive and for what the UK spends it can either be a global Britain or you can defend Britain but not do both very well

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Ulya. I read your earlier posts. Just to say you’ll find no anti Russia sentiment from me. I respect your people and I’m well read on the Great Patriotic War and what Germany and its allies did to you. Most westerners know little of it. Not me. So my respects to your vets and war dead. I think while Britain remains a P5 member, G8 member, and one of the worlds biggest economies the UK should look to be global. I am in favour of being an air, sea and intelligence power, not a land power, given our Island… Read more »


Thank you so much for taking the time for such a detailed reply Daniele, it was very interesting. You and I are complete opposites in focus for spending, I am very much a A2/AD girl. Im sure many Russian admirals would love a fleet you described but will never get the funding for, they will have to put up with being a mostly corvette navy (apart from that stupid carrier we have no need for but they insist on wasteing money on)

Daniele Mandelli

No problem Ulya.

To be fair your Russian admirals and government are more interested in Submarines than ships, as Russia is confined by Geography. Black Sea. Japan, Korea. Baltic. Norway, Iceland.

Russia is also a land Power, and nuclear power. Your Navy is bottom of the pile I feel.

May I ask what your views are of President Putin, the situation in Ukraine, and the incidents in Salisbury?


Those are the hard questions Daniele. I voted for Putin, although I dont agree with some of his policies they are more domestic issues. Ukraine, that is the red line the west crossed, not just for the government, but many Russians, so Putins actions have been very measured so not to escalate the conflict but to be seen to do something. I will not bother playing the blame game as we could both make a list of each others sins, but I often wonder how things would be different if there was no coup and Ukrainians waited 4 months I… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Thank you for the detailed response.

Your English is excellent by the way. Lived or worked in England?


I learned English at school, but I also have 2 Kiwi friends I meet about 8 years ago when I worked in the UAE, both school teaches, both very unforgiving when my English gets lazy, helps that my partner and I have just spent the last 4 weeks in NZ and Australia. Give it a few weeks of me speaking no English and you will notice a difference

andy reeves

how many do we have? i’d be happier knowing that the ones we have are in the best place for us. carry on posting please

lee Baxter

Hi All it was nice to read your exchange very civilised. My only reply would be to Ulya , Yes traitors take there chances. But the use of a nerve agent was very bad form I agree.

r cummings

Good that we’re putting some Apaches and Wildcats in there to support the battle group, it needs to be a rounded, all-arms force, an infantry battalion with some CSS is not really a deterrent. I read somewhere – on here maybe? – that NATO had asked the UK to provide a second battle group for Estonia and we had agreed. But haven’t seen any moves in that direction since. With lake Piepus forming a good part of the eastern border with Russia, the only two road routes into the country are in the north and south, both of which have… Read more »

Cam Hunter

It’s absolutely crazy how people actually think Russia will invade European country’s! Russia doesn’t have the money or balls to go to war with a NATO nation!. It’s suicide for Russia, but I supose the powers that be are wanting us to think Russia’s a big threat so we keep spending money on our defences so it’s a good thing and stupid at the same time.

andy reeves

the cold war was won, because the russians couldn’t match the financial technical ability of the west

R cummings

There are many ways of ‘invading’ territory Cam. Russia claims it didn’t invade eastern Ukraine or Crimea, yet we see ‘the little green men’ on the ground seizing the territory, the Russian flags flying over it and Russia effectively annexing these regions. Their asymmetrical warfare trick is to stir-up the Russian-speaking element of the population, by propaganda, disinformation, funding of Russian nationalist political parties, promotion of ethnic Russian alternative media and the injection of large sums of money to establish an armed 5th column, then to foment insurrection, led and supported by regular Russian special forces troops and intelligence operatives.… Read more »

Mr Bell

R Cummings has summed it all up very well. Good post. I would just add do Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania all spend in excess of 2% GDP to defence ratio as NATO standard? They could do more to bolster their own defences although I think NATOs move eastward onto the Russian border was perhaps unwise as it only encourages Putin’s rhetoric of Russia surrounded. The Baltic States would be wise investing in Landceptor, Grippen and Apache as well as limited numbers of capable battle tanks like the Challenger 2 or M1A2 so they can at least offer capable resistance to Russia… Read more »