Chinook helicopters flown by Britain's RAF spotted over Tallinn

A British RAF Chinook over Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn.
A British RAF Chinook over Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Iconic Boeing CH-47 Chinook twin-rotor helicopters operated by Britain's Royal Air Force will be making a series of low-altitude flights over Estonia during their stay at Ämari Air Base, with one such sojourn over Tallinn already generating excitement.

The low-altitude flights will generally avoid more heavily populated areas, the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) General Staff says, though some will take place over urban areas, including Friday's overflight of Tallinn (see images), and other settlements.

The Chinooks will fly at an altitude no lower than 30m, and are engaged in training exercises in conjunction with the EDF and NATO allied forces based in Estonia.

Chinook over Tallinn, Friday, January 20, 2023. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Chinooks arrived earlier this week, direct from RAF Odiham, in Hampshire, England, and are set to stay at Ämari until the end of February, as part of a deal inked with the British government last November.

The Chinooks are a separate deployment from the rotating NATO Baltic Air Policing mission, based at Ämari, The RAF has held that role in the past, most recently in 2019. This is an entirely separate set-up from the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, based at Tapa and U.K.-led, and the additional British forces provided via the Agile Task Force and other structures, in the wake of agreements made at the NATO Madrid Summit last summer.

While predominantly used in transport of both personnel and materiel, Chinooks carry 7.62 mm M134 and M60D machine guns as primary armaments.

Named, as with several other U.S.-made military helicopters, after a Native American ethnic group, the Chinook is among the heaviest lifting of all western helicopters in service. It has been in operation for over 60 years, and was widely used in the Vietnam War, as well as by both combatant nations in the Falklands War.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mirjam Mäekivi

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