The opening salvo of the Estonian component of a large-scale United States military exercise came in the form of Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) live-firing at an exercise involving personnel from both countries, along with the United Kingdom, Wednesday. Thursday evening saw a large scale United States airborne jump over central Estonia.
The live firing took place at the Estonian Defense Forces' (EDF) Central Polygon training area in Harju County, part of Exercise Swift Response, which in turn is a subset of the U.S. DEFENDER-Europe 21 exercise.
Exercise Swift Response continued Thursday evening with the airborne drop over Nurmsi airfield in Järva County, which saw hundreds of U.S. airborne personnel making a jump.
DEFENDER-Europe 21 is the largest U.S. exercise of its kind of the past 25 years and is taking place across 16 European countries, including Estonia, concurrently.
Crisis situation rehearsals are a part of the exercise in Estonia.
Swift Response combines the participation of close to 2,500 EDF, U.S. and U.K. personnel, over 20 aircraft and more than 25 helicopters.
Five MLRS units took part on Wednesday, four from the U.S. and one from the U.K., while the EDF personnel, including volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) personnel from the Viru, Alutaguse and Järva units, as well as regular EDF troops and also Special Operations Command personnel practiced fire control and targeting, AK reported, while all of the over 20 short-range firings hit their targets.
Thursday's jump also involved equipment para drops, with the majority of the personnel coming from their base at the famous Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
A video from Thursday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (in Estonian) of the MLRS systems in action is below.
Editor: Andrew Whyte