VIDEO | RAF Eurofighters in Estonian skies

Eurofighter Typhoon.
Eurofighter Typhoon. Source: EDF

Eurofighter jets serving with Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) and currently based at Ämari are making low-altitude and other training flights in Estonian airspace this week.

The Estonian Defense Forces' (EDF) headquarters has stated in a press release that Eurofighter Typhoons in RAF service have been making low altitude flights this week, between Tuesday and Thursday, predominantly in Eastern Central and Southern Estonia.

The flights, which form part of routine training - the RAF conducted similar exercises earlier this month - have been taking place during daytime hours, more specifically between 1.30 p.m. and 5.15 p.m., at altitudes no lower than 152m (500 feet).

A Eurofighter Typhoon in RAF service (bottom) escorting a Rusian Su-27 (top) which flew close to NATO airspace last month. Source: RAF/ HM Ministry of Defense

As per standard practice, the EDF says that the flights will avoid built up areas and be confined to more sparsely populated regions of the country, though overflights of small settlements or farmsteads may occur at some points.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense has released video footage filmed from the cockpit of a Typhoon, flying in Estonian airspace, and published on the website of British daily The Independent (see below).

NATO member states set aside specific parts of their own airspace for allied air force exercises and rehearsals, including those at low altitude.

Estonia is no exception here, while the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission based at Ämari, and its equivalent at Šiauliai, Lithuania, has been in place for nearly a deacade.

The current overflights are being performed in agreement with the Transport Board (Transpordiamet) and Lennuliiklustenindus AS.

An RAF Typhoon flies past the HMS Mersey. Source: Michael Cole

RAF commander at Ämari: Essential to ensure NATO airspace

Meanwhile Wg Cdr John Cockroft, Officer Commanding 1 (Fighter) Squadron, told U.K. radio station Planet Radio that: "Even with the war in Ukraine, we are still maintaining what we have always done here in Estonia, which is to ensure the integrity of the NATO airspace."

"Our mission hasn't changed, we just have to make sure there is no miscalculation at any stage," Wg Cdr Cockroft, speaking from Ämari, went on.

The current mission has six Eurofighters at Ämari, and has made 50 aircraft intercepts since it arrived in March.

The current deployment is dubbed Operation Azotize, and the RAF have also been on exercise with Finnish air force planes.

The deployment initially overlapped for several weeks with German Luftwaffe Eurofighters from the previous rotation, in an historic joint mission.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots

Source: EDF, The Indepedent, Planet Radio

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