The United Kingdom is loaning four Jackal 2 armored vehicles, tried and tested in Afghanistan, to the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), that country's Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced. The Jackals will be used in the EDFs operations in the West African nation of Mali.
The U.K.-made Mobility Weapon-Mounted Installation Kit (MWMIK) vehicles will be provided to the EDFs special forces personnel, and comes with a three-week training course for the EDF's Special Operations Task Group (Erioperatsioonide grupp) on how to use the kit, the MoD said.
U.K. Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey (Con.) noted the appropriateness of the Jackal 2 being lent to the EDF.
"Having served with the Estonians in Afghanistan, I've seen first-hand the excellence of their armed forces and the depth of the friendship between our two nations," Heappey said, according to the MoD.
"With the Jackal 2 the Estonian Armed Forces will be equipped with a proven, battle winning vehicle as they join the international effort to tackle terrorism," he added.
The NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, stationed at Tapa, east of Tallinn, since 2017, is U.K.-led, and brings around 800 U.K. personnel to Estonia on a rotational basis at any one time.
The eFP is currently based around the First Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (First Fusiliers), an armored infantry battalion who replaced the Queen's Royal Hussars armored battalion earlier this year.
This is in addition to the NATO air policing duties based at Ämari, which Britain's Royal Air Force has been involved in, most recently from last May, and again on a rotational basis.
Estonia joined NATO in 2004.
The vehicles are to be deployed by Estonia as part of their contribution to the French-led counter-terrorism Operation Barkhane, centered on the West African nation of Mali.
The Jackals will be on loan to Estonia till next March as things stand, pending the U.K. taking delivery of Coyote armored reconnaissance vehicles – something which has been subject to delay, the MoD says. The Coyote design is based on the Jackal.
This video shows the Jackal 2 in action.
You can also watch 10 days in the "Life of the British Army in Estonia", a montage video produced last year, which ranges from activities in the field, to various types of kit including Apache helicopters, to choir activities, sports, and a visit from President Kersti Kaljulaid, here.
The Jackal 2, manufactured by Devon-based company Supacat, has a unique air-bag suspension system which allows it rapid movement across the most unforgiving terrain, something which British forces have been able to demonstrate in Afghanistan. It is designed to protect its occupants from roadside explosions while at the same time alllowing its main gun a 360-degree sweep. It is also fitted with a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) as standard, and can be equipped with a heavier machine gun or grenade launcher, depending on requirements.
Supacat has produced 72 Jackals, with the support of defense company Babcock, since 2008, when the MOD placed a £74m contract.
Editor: Andrew Whyte