Estonian naval ships take part in Finnish exercise (1)
Two mine countermeasure (MCM) vessels of the Estonian Navy are taking part in a training exercise in Finland this week.
Baltic Shield 2016, an exercise which will see ship crews hone their skills in firing onboard weapons and navigating in coastal waters, is scheduled to be held from Monday through Friday, Estonian Ministry of Defence spokespeople said.
Two Sandown-class MCMs of the Estonian Navy, the EML Admiral Cowan (M313) and the EML Ugandi (M315), will join two Katanpää-class minehunters from the Finnish navy in taking part in the exercise together with approximately one hundred personnel, including conscripts, from each country.
During the exercise, all onboard weapons will be used to practice shooting at airborne and surface targets. The Finnish Navy uses drones flying at an altitude of 20-100 meters to imitate surface attacked aircraft while training, military spokespeople based in Tallinn said.
The Estonian minehunters are equipped with a 23 mm anti-aircraft gun and three 12.7 mm Browning heavy machine guns, while the Katanpää-class minehunters are equipped with Bofors 40 mm L/70 guns.
The commander of the Admiral Cowan, Lt. Cmr. Tanel Leetna, described the training exercise as being imoprtant in terms of both international cooperation and training. "Baltic Shield gives us an excellent opportunity to conduct training in firing at airborne targets," noted Leetna.
Vessels of the Estonian Navy have participated in live fire exercises of the Finnish army since 2010.