Air force personnel taking part in the Spring Storm military exercise have set up a temporary helicopter support base at Tapa Army Base where Estonian Robinson R-44 helicopters will be based and visiting U.S. Black Hawk and Apache helicopters will have a refueling base.
"The temporary air base set up in the area where training battles are taking place enables aviation units to respond to the needs of the ground forces faster and in a more flexible manner," Ämari Air Base commaner Lt. Col. Ülar Lõhmus said according to Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) spokespeople. "It also allows for significant economy in flight time and fuel spending."
Altogether 11 helicopters are taking part in Spring Storm, where they will be tasked with supporting the combat activity of ground forces with air attack assets, observation and reconnaissance flights as well as transport.
Linked to the temporary support base is a Polish anti-aircraft unit armed with the SA-6 Gainful medium-range air defense missile system and the SA-8 Gecko short-range system. As part of Spring Storm, attack aircraft will carry out mock attacks on the air defense unit that has occupied defensive positions.
The ad-hoc base, which will be operational through the end of Spring Storm, will serve as a temporary home to helicopter maintenance equipment and teering and communications equipent necessary for air operation. Pilots and ground service teams have also relocated there.
Spring Storm, which began on May 8 and will run through May 26, is being held in Northern and Northeastern Estonia.
Editor: Aili Vahtla