UK deploys first armoured vehicles to Estonia
The UK has deployed the first batch of armoured vehicles to Estonia in support of its enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup.
Based in Tapa, the battlegroup is said to be one of the largest ever Nato deployments to Eastern Europe.
The hundreds of UK military vehicles that have arrived in Estonia include Warrior infantry fighting vehicles and Challenger 2 tanks, as well as Terrier, Titan and Trojan armoured battlefield engineer vehicles.
UK 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.”
The UK military vehicles will join infantry fighting vehicles and tanks that were deployed by France over the last few days.
The systems will allow the 5 Rifles Battlegroup to operate in a wide range of exercises and operations within the 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade, the UK Ministry of Defence stated.
5 Rifles commanding officer lieutenant colonel Mark Wilson said: “The arrival of British and French armoured vehicles, alongside the men and women of the enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup is hugely exciting.
“We look forward to integrating into the Estonian Defence Force and training alongside 1st Infantry Brigade within a matter of weeks.”
The UK has also provided the battlegroup with AS90 self-propelled artillery guns.