Gallery: French airborne troops in Spring Storm drop in Estonia

Close to 200 French Army airborne personnel took part in a parachute drop over Lääne-Viru County Saturday, as part of the ongoing, large-scale Exercise Spring Storm (Kevadtorm).

Spring Storm is the EDF's largest annual exercise, and involves regular troops, reservists, members of the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) and, as with Saturday's jump, allied personnel.

Exercise Spring Storm started Monday and reached its most active phase from Thursday, both for EDF and allied participants.

This year and for the first time, the exercise is being headed up by a divisional structure which was announced last year, in the wake of the changed security situation.

Personnel from the 8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (French: 8e Régiment de Parachutistes d'Infanterie de Marine) took part in the drop, near Viitna, rehearsing a scenario whereby allied units are inserted in Estonia by air, to be followed by cooperation with the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) troops on the ground.

The main airborne group from France arrived at the drop zone in Airbus A400M Atlas transport planes Saturday morning, accompanied by allied escorts. 

The entire jump took around 45 minutes, with the paratroopers' RV points being locations designated by the EDF.

A French armed forces officer in charge of marking the landing area said: "The landing went great. I think today will bring a lot of good to our defense forces."

"We are happy to be on exercise together with the Estonians and other allies, as part of Exercise Spring Storm. This will surely serve to improve all of our defensive capabilities," he went on.

EDF personnel said they found communications with the French airborne troops had gone smoothly.

Communication had been via a mixture of English and French, while on Thursday evening, personnel from the EDF 1st Brigade's reconnaissance company had received an advance group of French paratroopers, to brief them on the situation. 

Elsewhere in Exercise Spring Storm, British Army Air Corps Apache and Wildcat helicopters were also on exercise.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov

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