Earlier this week, Inspector of the German Air Force Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz visited Ämari Air Base, where he also met with German Air Force personnel currently serving on the Baltic Air Policing mission. A few days later, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) likewise visited the German unit.
Gerhartz said on Thursday that he was impressed with the high motivation and capability of the German personnel serving at Ämari.
"With our presence and contribution to air policing, we are demonstrating and proving NATO unity and the assurance of allies," he was quoted by military spokespeople in Tallinn as saying.
Commander of the Estonian Air Force Col. Riivo Valge described Germany's contribution to the Baltic Air Policing mission as very important.
"Germany has been one of our most reliable allies for decades, and the Baltic Air Policing mission is a tangible outcome of this," Valge said.
Ratas: Germany's contribution vital to Baltic airspace security
On his own visit to Ämari Air Base later this week, Ratas said that Germany's contributions are vital to ensuring the security of Baltic airspace.
"The contributions of the Germans to protecting Baltic airspace are impressive," Ratas was quoted by government spokespeople as saying following a meeting with Lt. Col. Swen Jacob, commander of the German contingent currently at Ämari. "They have done it every year since 2014, and will continue their mission at Ämari at the beginning of next year as well."
The prime minister added that allies' support in developing the air base will help ensure better conditions and training opportunities for NATO units in the future. Another issue discussed at the meeting, which was also attended by Valge, was safety requirements that apply to military aircraft and their armament.
At the air base, Ratas greeted the German Air Force unit currently serving out of Estonia. The prime minister was also given an overview of new infrastructure objects that were financed from the US European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) military construction programme.
The German Air Force unit that took over Baltic Air Policing duties out of Ämari Air Base in August is based at Neuburg Air Base in the German state of Bavaria. The nearly 160-strong German contingent currently deployed to Estonia with five Eurofigher jets is the fourth German contingent to serve on the mission.
In early January 2019, the current German contingent will hand over the mission to another German rotation, marking the first time that the same country provides two successive rotations under the Baltic Air Policing arrangement.
The current contingent took over duties from the French Air Force in August.
Editor: Aili Vahtla