A mass nighttime airborne exercise in central Estonia involved over 500 allied personnel taking part, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Friday. The jump is one part of the much wider, US-led Swift Response 2023.
The jump took place over the Nurmsi airfield in Järva County, with personnel from Poland, the Czech Republic and the U.K. also takin gpart.
The operation was a part of the U.S.-led exercise Swift Response 2023, whose Estonian phase will end at the beginning of next week
Most of those taking part had flown North from Poland and so were jumping over terra incognita.
Col. Viktor Kalnitski, Chief of the Estonian command staff for the exercise, told AK that: "This is all new for [the participants]."
"They're jumping into a place where they're not familiar with the terrain. They're jumping with minimal advance intelligence. Plus to essentially fly here directly from Krakow, Poland – so the drop is in an area which they're really not very familiar with," Col Kalnitski went on.
Some of the personnel had arrived at nearby Ämari Air Base earlier, and embarked seven planes used for the purpose, which were also refueled on the ground at Ämari.
A recce team had earlier dropped on to Kuusiku in neighboring Rapla County, to secure the night jump drop zone, while Medivac drills were also rehearsed, given the potential hazards of a night drop of that scale.
Jumps over Nurmsi of this scale have taken place in the past, for instance in May 2021.
After the jump, the over 500 airborne troops have to rapidly gather their equipment and then move forward.
The Polish 6th Airborne Brigade headed up the jump itself, AK reported.
Video imaging was provided by private sector firm HEVI Optronics, whose devices (see cover image) provide the additional ability to reveal paras' coordinates.
"Observation is our main area. And precisely this kind of observation, which does not depend on the weather, can also be used at night and all year round," HEVI Optronics CEO Kristjan Tiimus told AK.
The original AK slot (in Estonian) is here.
Regional daily Jarva teataja also carries images of the night drop here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja
Source: ‘Aktuaalne kaamera’, Järvamaa teataja