In the latest phase of the SIIL (HEDGEHOG) military training exercise, the Estonian navy was tasked with surveying the entire Kura Kurk (Irbe Strait) and port of Mõntu on Saaremaa, to secure the laying of minefields and detect the movement of opposing forces.
To do so, one radar station was set up, with another in reserve, ensuring the widest possible area was under observation. The radar will provide the navy with sufficient observation of both the Kura Kurk and the area around the port of Mõntu. "We can see what is happening in this area and over 40 kilometers away to Latvia. Even the smallest fishing boats can be identified," said Janno-Joosep Naaber, head of the monitoring group. "There is also a camera at the top of the radar with a very long zoom and thermal performace capabilities. At night, you can even see rabbits moving in the grass behind the coast, we have good observation and detection capabilities and our own security is guaranteed."
"Our unit is enough strength to deal with the initial attack, but we are not a combat unit. We are the eyes and ears of the battle groups, displaying the situation at sea to our combat units," he explained. "If we detect an opposing force, we can get the relevant units to react. The benefit of the current position is that we have more power to react. We have the resources to man the posts, patrols and, of course, the radar itself."
SIIL (HEDGEHOG) 2022 is the first time these radar units have operated in a tactical situation, meaning several procedures are still being practiced. "We have written everything down on paper, but it's now a real practice for this unit to see how these things actually work in the field. How long they work, how long they take and how long it will take to pack this whole thing up and move away from here," Naaber said.
Editor: Michael Cole