According to a representative of the Estonian Air Force, several aerial exercises of Estonian and U.S. air forces are to take place this year, although the exact dates have not been set yet.
"This year several joint exercises of the US Air Force and the Estonian Air Force are to take place, and these will probably be similar to the ones that took place last year, but it is still early to tell when and with which planes these will take place," spokesman for the air force Alar Laats told BNS.
Last year three longer joint exercises of the Estonian and US air forces took place in Estonia. The first one started in March and ended in April and 14 US fighters took part in it, while the second one lasted from August to September and brought eight A-10 fighters to the Ämari air base. From the end of September until the start of this January, the Ämari air base was the temporary base in Europe for a US wing consisting of 12 A-10 fighter jets. The wing also made practice flights elsewhere in Europe -- as far as in Hungary and Bulgaria.
According to Laats, the Ämari air base will continue to be a base for NATO's Baltic air policing mission. This year several international exercises are planned to take place in Estonia where the Estonian Air Force plays a leading role. The first one, NATO exercise Ramstein Alloy 16-1, is scheduled to start on April 19. The exercise is mainly meant for units participating in air policing, which means that the Belgian Air Component fighters stationed at Ämari and members of the Spanish Air Force stationed at Šiauliai are to take part in that.
The exercise is followed by two international exercises -- Spring Storm in May and Saber Strike in June.