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Military from 7 countries to take part in Independence Day parade

Armored vehicles taking part in the Independence Day military parade, pictured in Tallinn's Freedom Square. Feb. 24, 2016.
Armored vehicles taking part in the Independence Day military parade, pictured in Tallinn's Freedom Square. Feb. 24, 2016. Source: (Liis Treimann/Postimees/Scanpix)

Members of the defense forces of seven countries are set to participate in the military parade to be held in Tallinn on the occasion of the 99th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Estonia on Feb. 24.

Units participating in the parade will assemble in Tallinn's Freedom Square at 11 a.m. The parade will be led by Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces Gen. Riho Terras and reviewed by President Kersti Kaljulaid.

41 flags, 5 companies, 4 batteries, 22 platoons and three orchestras will take part in the parade — altogether more than 1,000 personnel and more than 100 pieces of equipment. The three orchestras to take part are the Orchestra of the Estonian Defence Forces, the Orchestra of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band.

All branches of Estonia's armed forces will be represented, including the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades, the Estonian National Defence College, the Baltic Defence College as well as cadets of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences.

For the first time ever, the Scouts Battalion will take part in the parade with CV9035 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and the Viru Infantry Battalion with Sisu XA-188 armored personnel carriers. The Reconnaissance Company of the 1st Infantry Brigade will likewise be taking part in the parade for the first time.

Also participating in the parade will be a platoon-sized unit of U.S. soldiers currently stationed in Estonia, together with two Bradley IFVs and two M1A2 Abrams tanks, a platoon-sized unit of U.K., and color guards from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Denmark.

Aircraft to participate as well

Weather permitting, Estonian and allied aircraft will also perform a flyover. Aircraft to participate in the flyover will include four R-44 Robinson helicopters of the Estonian Air Force flying in diamond formation, an AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter of the Police and Border Guard Board, a NATO E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft accompanied by two German Eurofighter jets as well as two Dutch F-16 fighter jets.

Following the parade, Estonian and allied troops will display their equipment to the public. This year, the equipment on display will include CV9035 IFVs that were introduced in the Estonian Armed Forces in 2016, a U.S. Abrams tank and Bradley IFV, Sisu XA-188 armored personnel carriers, 155 and 122 mm howitzers, a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun, a Mistral anti-aircraft missile complex, Milan and Javelin anti-tank guns, a 120 mm mortar and a Ground Master 403 mobile air surveillance radar.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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