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ERR News special report from Ämari Air Base

Photo: Courtesy of the Defense Forces

ERR News visited Ämari Air Base where we spoke with Estonian Defense Minister Sven Mikser, fresh from the meeting with his British counterpart Michael Fallon. We also interviewed Typhoon pilot Flight Lieutenant Oli Fleming, who had just intercepted Russian military aircraft.

Mikser was in Ämari to meet the British defense secretary Michael Fallon, who paid a brief visit to Estonia last Wednesday, discussing the security with his Estonian colleague and greeting the UK's pilots and ground crew who are currently flying and looking after four RAF jets stationed at the airfield.

Mikser gave a briefing about the planned NATO 'Very High Readiness Joint Task Force' (VJTF), centered on a multinational brigade ready to deploy within two-three days. Britain is expected to play a leading part in the force and Estonia will also contribute troops. He also commented upon the report that the US will store weapons for up to 5,000 troops in a number of Eastern European nations and Baltic states, including Estonia.

Just prior to interview, there had been four scrambles from the Royal Air Force Typhoons based at Ämari. In just over 24 hours, the tally of RAF intercepts had included four MiG-31BM Foxhound fighters, two Tu-22M3 Backfire C bombers, two An-26 Curl surveillance aircraft and an A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control aircraft. Two alerted Typhoons landed just an hour before Britain's defense secretary touched down.

Flight Lieutenant Oli Fleming was one of the RAF pilots who intercepted the Russian jets. Fleming spoke to ERR News about defending the Estonian skies with Eurofighter Typhoon jet.

The four Royal Air Force jets from No 6 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, have been based at Ämari since May 5 and are deployed in support of the Baltic Air Policing Mission until September.

Editor: S. Tambur

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