British Army helicopters in maritime target exercise off Estonian coast

Exercise in progress on Rutja beach, Lääne-Viru County.
Exercise in progress on Rutja beach, Lääne-Viru County. Source: Maria Grünberg/EDF

While the recent Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) large-scale exercise may be over, plenty of activity has been going on off the coast of Lääne-Viru County, as British-led allies joined the Estonian Navy (Merevägi) and rest of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) in rehearsing sorties vectored on targets out at sea.

The British-led battlegroup brought together Eurofighter Typhoons from Britain's RAF, currently holding the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission role in Ämari, with AgustaWestland Apache and AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat helicopters from the Army Air Corps, a regiment of the British Army.

Speaking to ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK), Lt. Col. Alex Rivett of the AAC said: "The actual danger area itself, the target area, is about 10 kilometers square, and it's a sea range, so it's all offshore, and the Estonian Navy have secured that area, and also towed out the targets, that we're able to target today."

Army Air Corps AgustaWestland Apache attack helicopter flying over Estonia in 2019. Source:

The Apaches and Typhoons deployed weapons systems against the seaborne targets, in the vicinity of Rutja, Lääne-Viru County, which had once hosted a reservist airfield, during the Soviet era.

Ministry of Defense Permanent Secretary Kusti Salm told AK that: "At the current level, this exercise takes place once a year. It is an exercise which follows Spring Storm, in which allies practice a relatively complex air operation."

Of the plus points of holding such an exercise in Estonia, Lt. Col. Rivett told AK that: "It's the opportunity that comes from all of us being deployed in Estonia at the same time, so lots of allies, lots of capabilities all here at the same time; all training together, which is quite difficult to pull together sometimes back in the U.K. So it is a fantastic place to come and train, and also the fact that the Estonian military are able to put together such complex exercises over multiple training areas."

British Army Air Corps AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat at Ämari Air Base. Source: EDF

AK reported three personnel set up the AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missile on to the Apache, while British, French and Estonian airborne fire controllers oversaw laser-guided control from inside a Wildcat.

The exercise also involved shore-based air defense rehearsals.

This is the fifth time an exercise of this type and scope has taken place in Estonia, AK reported.

The AAC contingent has been in Estonia for several weeks, and will be heading home, or elsewhere, next week, AK added.

The original AK slot is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', interviewer Vahur Lauri.

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