Defense minister meets French, US air force personnel at Ämari Air base ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The two MQ-9 Reaper drones currently at Ämari.
The two MQ-9 Reaper drones currently at Ämari. Source: Ardi Hallismaa

Minister of Defense Jüri Luik visited Ämari Air Base on Wednesday, meeting members of the French and United States air forces currently based there.

"The fighters that are in constant readiness around the clock and 365 days a year send a clear message that the security space protected by the allied forces in Estonia is common," Luik said, according to BNS, while meeting the French contingent, currently on rotation in Ämari as part of NATO's Baltic Air policing duties.

Luik said that France is an important ally for Estonia, with whom there is close cooperation in the field of defense.

Estonia contributes personnel to the French-led counter-terrorism Operation Barkhane in Mali as well as to the special operations task force Takuba operating within it.

In addition to its air force contingent at Ämari, France is to send a company-sized unit equipped with tanks to Tapa early next year, joining the Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup there.

Nations participating in NATO's Baltic air policing mission rotate every four months. The French have been ensuring air security out of the Ämari base with Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets since May, and will hand over their tasks to the German Air Force in September.

Luik also inspected the two U.S. MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), based at Ämari on a temporary basis.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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