English newshttp://www.mil.ee/www.mil.ee recent newsenSun, 24 Jun 2018 07:52:56 +0300Sun, 24 Jun 2018 07:52:56 +0300Over 30 international observers monitor Siil exercise in Estoniahttp://www.mil.ee/en/news/10229/over-30-international-observers-monitor-siil-exercise-in-estonia<p>Over 30 observers from 15 countries, including from Russia and Belarus, as well as from the OSCE and other international organisations monitored the Siil exercise currently under way in Estonia.</p><p>According to Norwegian representative to the OSCE, Brigadier General Bjoern Tore Solberg, with the 15 nations the visit underlines the importance of transparency based on Vienna document.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are really impressed as the observers from the OSCE of this huge defence will that we have learned during this observation. Even talking to conscripts, NCOs, officers that are professionals, there&acute;s a really strong will to defend Estonia and to do this in a combined and joint effort with Allies,&rdquo; Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Westermann from the Arms Control, Disarmament, and WMD Non-proliferation Centre at <em>NATO</em> Headquarters, said.</p> <p>&ldquo;We do have an enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group here and this a good experience to see how they integrate and work together,&rdquo; he added.</p> <p>Exercise Siil 2018, involving over 15,000 Allied and partner troops from 19 different countries, as well as forces from NATO\'s enhanced Forward Presence, started in Estonia Tuesday, May 2. Nearly 1,800 professional; 2,600 conscript; 9,000 voluntary Defence League and reserve and 2,100 Allied and partner troops are participating in the biggest training event Estonia has hosted since re-gaining independence.</p> <p>In addition to military forces, Estonia&acute;s volunteer paramilitary Women&rsquo;s Home Defence Organization, police and rescue workers contribute to train the broad-based defence. The exercise focuses on defensive territorial manoeuvres in the context of both conventional and unconventional warfare.</p> <p>The second phase starting this week will mainly take place in V&otilde;ru, P&otilde;lva, Valgamaa and Northern Latvia. In this phase, Estonia&acute;s 2nd Infantry Brigade together with Allied and partner troops train in cooperation against the opposing 1st Infantry Brigade and the NATO battlegroup units.</p> <p>Observers from Belorussia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ukraine, U.S., NATO HQ and SHAPE observed the exercise.</p>news_10229Mon, 07 May 2018 16:10:00 +0300Estonia conducts rapid response readiness exercisehttp://www.mil.ee/en/news/10212/estonia-conducts-rapid-response-readiness-exercise<p>With the ongoing Siil (Hedgehog) exercise Estonian Government has now initiated a rapid response readiness exercise Quill. The snap exercise involving 223 reserve troops from 92<sup>nd</sup> Air Surveillance Wing will take place from May 3 to 6.</p><p>Estonia&nbsp; tests regularly its armed forces readiness and there is no imminent threat to country&acute;s security. The exercise scenario is not aimed at any specific country and is purely defensive in nature.</p> <p>The exercise is also to test the Defence Forces&acute; assembly and logistics capabilities.</p>news_10212Thu, 03 May 2018 11:04:00 +0300Siil exercise starts in Estoniahttp://www.mil.ee/en/news/10207/siil-exercise-starts-in-estonia<p>Siil exercise involving over 15,000 Allied and Partner Nations&acute; troops from 19 different countries, as well as from five different NATO bodies, including enhanced Forward Presence troops has kicked off in Estonia today, May 2.</p><p>In addition to military, Siil &ndash; one of the biggest Allied National Exercises in the region this year, brings together volunteer paramilitary Defence League, Women&rsquo;s Home Defence Organization, police and rescue workers to train broad-based defence, a concept that the country adopted after restoring independence. The exercise will focus on the defensive territorial maneuvers in the context of both conventional and unconventional warfare.</p> <p>According to Estonia&acute;s Commander of Defence Forces, General Riho Terras the modern defence involves actors both from the military as well as from the private and public sector. &ldquo;Everyone&acute;s role is important, it&acute;s crucial that the state and its citizens work together in defending the country,&rdquo; he added.</p> <p>The exercise is divided into two stages: during the first stage, lasting until the May 6, the formation of the Defence League and Defence Forces will be initiated and combat readiness achieved. Light infantry companies and enforcement units of the Defence League will be training internal security tasks with the Police and Border Guard, including carrying out evacuation of the local population with support from the Women&rsquo;s Home Defence Organization.</p> <p>The second phase or the battle-training phase lasts from May 7 to 13 mainly in V&otilde;ru, P&otilde;lva, Valgamaa and Northern Latvia, when the Estonia&acute;s 2<sup>nd</sup> Infantry Brigade together with Allied and Partner troops train in cooperation against the opposing 1nd Infantry Brigade and the NATO Battle Group units.</p> <p>Over 30 observers, also from Russia and Belorussia, as well as from OSCE and other international organisations will monitor the exercise.</p>news_10207Wed, 02 May 2018 15:08:00 +0300Chief of Defence: freedom should never be taken for grantedhttp://www.mil.ee/en/news/10105/chief-of-defence:-freedom-should-never-be-taken-for-granted<p>Honourable President of the Republic! Honourable President of the Riigikogu! Mister Prime Minister! Your Excellencies! Members of the Defence Forces and the Defence League! Dear compatriots! It is a great honour and joy to congratulate you on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.</p><p>Defending the Republic of Estonia is the most important task for the members of the Estonian Defence Forces and of the Estonian Defence League. We fulfil this task unconditionally and with great dedication.</p> <p>It's been a hundred years since the days when our forefathers swore to protect our young country. They did this in the War of Independence, along with the entire Estonian nation.</p> <p>The victory in the Estonian War of Independence was needed in order to fulfil the dream of having our own country. This, in turn, was needed in order to secure this small nation’s belief in itself. The War of Independence provided a very clear message – everything is possible if a nation strives for it with all its might.</p> <p>That message could not be overpowered by foreign powers or mass deportations. The message was carried worth and it helped our people survive.</p> <p>One of the best examples of determination and faith in Estonia was set by Corporal Eduard Kuuskor. He is fifty-three days older than the Republic of Estonia. His life story can be seen as the history of the Estonian state in one person. Corporal Kuuskor was one of the brave combat signallers who initiated armed resistance against the Red Army invaders in the battle of the Raua Street on 21 June 1940. During the Second World War, he was the signaller of the Haukka group. After which he spent more than twenty years in Soviet prison camps and places of deportation. Today, this mighty gentleman lives in Keila. We wish him all the best for Estonia’s birthday. </p> <p>Dear compatriots! </p> <p>The skills and knowledge of Corporal Kuuskor enabled him to aid the resistance movement.</p> <p>We need to ensure that the skills and knowledge of our people would be applied to defending Estonia in the most efficient way, even today. The Estonian Defence Forces need to be oriented to the future and make good use of the strong suits of our people and country. Our innovation is led by the entire society of Estonia. </p> <p>We already have cyber conscripts who, due to their preparation and quick wits, are able to protect Estonia in cyberspace. The defence industry in Estonia is becoming stronger and more visible. It has found recognition and cooperation opportunities all over the world. We also need to apply more of our own defence industry technologies and solutions in the Estonian Defence Forces.</p> <p>The Estonian Defence Forces can be future-oriented only if we know our strengths and learn from experience. </p> <p>In recent years, training exercises have become a natural part of the life of a reservist. These training events are often announced unexpectedly and without prior notice. This is a very necessary practice, as it is the only way in which we can get a clear picture of our mobilisation capacity. SIIL 2018, the largest training exercise of the Estonian Defence League, will start in May of this year and its participants will include members of the Estonian Defence League and of the <i>Naiskodukaitse</i> (Women`s Voluntary Defence Organization), reservists, conscripts, servicemen in active service and allied units.</p> <p>It is important to keep in mind that training exercises are a normal part of the national defence system.  We have gained understanding and support from the families, communities and employers of the defenders of our country. This support is highly appreciated by the Estonian Defence Forces and the Estonian Defence League. </p> <p>Our independent defence capacity and the collective defence based on NATO are equally important for the defence of Estonia.</p> <p>The strength of our alliances lies in unity. Unity is an armature, around which the most powerful alliance can be cast. For Estonia, this refers to the presence of allies. This presence is the basis of military deterrence. The NATO battle group stationed at Tapa and the Baltic Air Policing mission at Ämari, as well as allied units, which take part in the training exercises, have become integral parts of the activities of the Estonian Defence Forces. This is an everyday occurrence for close allies.</p> <p>In addition to the British, the UK-led battle group currently also includes units from Denmark and Iceland. The Danish company that currently serves at Tapa is exactly the same in size as the Danish volunteer unit, which on 4 April 1919, came to the aid of Estonians in the War of Independence, with 189 fighters. We thank our allies who have sent their men and women to Estonia. This is the most effective way to defend NATO. We are also well-informed and ready to respond where our help is needed.</p> <p>Our troops serve alongside the French and British, Americans and Finns, as well as soldiers from many other countries.  Situations that require military intervention surround Europe in several directions. We need to stay vigilant and ready for complicated missions far away from home. </p> <p>Dear people of Estonia!</p> <p>The defenders of the Republic of Estonia find the public’s support very important. This is evident right now, at the Freedom Square, as well, as the sincere interest in national defence and our homeland is reflected in everyone’s eyes. We feel it every spring when the symbol of the veterans, the blue bloom of Hepatica is visible all over Estonia.</p> <p>Our connection with the nation remains strong thanks to the fact that everyone has the chance to contribute to national defence. Let's try to give young people more opportunities to participate in the matters of their country, as they and their descendants will be the ones to witness the next century in Estonia.  Understanding and respect for your country starts from home, is cultivated in school and lasts a lifetime.</p> <p>“May it last for ever,” is Corporal Eduard Kuuskor’s birthday wish to the 100-year-old Republic of Estonia, “without any external forces, with our own people and our own nation.” Let’s honour this wish. We need to remember that the independence and freedom of our people has never been self-evident and should never be taken for granted. The Estonian state was established to protect our people and our freedom.</p> <p>Long live the Republic of Estonia!</p>news_10105Sat, 24 Feb 2018 13:51:00 +0200The Commander of the Defence Forces calls reservists into servicehttp://www.mil.ee/en/news/10015/the-commander-of-the-defence-forces-calls-reservists-into-service<p>Estonian Defence Forces calls 669 reservists of the 13<sup>th</sup> Infantry Battalion of the 1<sup>st</sup> Infantry Brigade into military service from 6<sup>th</sup> to 10<sup>th</sup> of December 2017 to undergo training in exercise “Okas” following the Estonian Government’s decision from the 6<sup>th</sup> of December of 2017.</p><p>The troops of the 13<sup>th</sup> Infantry Battalion are expected to show up in Jõhvi garrison not later than 09.00 on the 7<sup>th</sup> December 2017. The personnel will be notified using SMS, e-mail and state media and all relevant information will also be available on Estonian Defence Forces official webpage <a href="http://www.mil.ee/">www.mil.ee</a>.</p> <p>Reservists are encouraged to log on to Government e-Portal <a href="http://www.eesti.ee/">www.eesti.ee</a> and check whether the notification applies to them by turning to national defence obligation registry.</p> <p>All reservists expected to report to their unit can also receive more information by calling +372 717 8050 or e-mailing <a href="mailto:kv.s.1jvbr.reserv@mil.ee">1jvbr.reserv@mil.ee</a>. </p>news_10015Wed, 06 Dec 2017 11:13:00 +0200General Terras: Vice President Pence’s visit comes at significant timehttp://www.mil.ee/en/news/9853/general-terras:-vice-president-pence%E2%80%99s-visit-comes-at-significant-time<p>Vice President of the United States Mike Pence, whose two-day visit to Estonia ended today, met with Estonian troops and NATO forces deployed here in the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces in the afternoon.</p><p>Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Riho Terras said that Vice President Mike Pence&rsquo;s visit comes at a significant time and shows that our security concerns are taken seriously. &ldquo;I am certain that NATO will discuss the gaps left in the defence capability of our region and the decisions for reinforcements will be made together. It is clear that we need to look at the Baltic states&acute; defence as a complex system, where we need to find a working solutions together with our allies,&rdquo; Terras added.</p> <p>Additionally, Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, General Riho Terras and Commander of the NATO Battle Group, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Ridland gave an overview of the Allied forces deployed to Estonia to Vice President Pence, President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Latvia Raimonds Vejonis, and President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite in the Generals&rsquo; Hall of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces.</p> <p>During the visit, Vice President Pence made an entry into the guest book of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, and the Vice President and the Baltic Presidents also planted oak trees in Headquarters&acute; park.</p> <p>Since April, the NATO Battle Group in Estonia consists of troops from the United Kingdom, France, and Denmark. The United States troops are deployed in Poland and are regularly rotated in the Baltic States and Poland.</p> <p>The United States troops will arrive in Estonia again in autumn, as a company-sized unit starts serving in the 2<sup>nd</sup> Infantry Brigade with the Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion.</p>news_9853Mon, 31 Jul 2017 17:00:00 +0300The United States’ most advanced fighter, the F-35, landed at Ämarihttp://www.mil.ee/en/news/9727/the-united-states%E2%80%99-most-advanced-fighter%2C-the-f-35%2C-landed-at-%C3%A4mari<p>At 01.00 yesterday, two US F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation fighters and an accompanying Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker landed at &Auml;mari Air Base.</p><p>&ldquo;The visit by the fifth-generation, i.e. most advanced, fighter aircraft to Estonia is a clear sign of the special allied relationship between our countries and the strong presence of the United States in Europe,&rdquo; said Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna. &ldquo;We share the same values and we are together ready to defend the territory of NATO member countries from any form of possible aggression. The use of the United States&rsquo; newest combat aircraft in Europe ensures the sovereignty of all NATO member countries.&rdquo; According to Minister of Defence Tsahkna, the landing of the high-tech fighter aircraft at &Auml;mari Air Base demonstrates great recognition of Estonia&rsquo;s Air Force.</p> <p>The F-35A type fighter aircraft arrived in Estonia from U.S. Air Force-operated base Lakenheath, located in the United Kingdom; the fighter aircraft are permanently located in the United States, as part of the 34th Fighter Squadron and Reserve 466th Fighter Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The fighters were escorted by a KC-135 from the 100th Air Refuelling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England.</p> <p>&ldquo;The United States showed that their new fifth generation fighter is ready to protect the skies of the alliance,&rdquo; said Commander of the Estonian Air Force Colonel Jaak Tarien. According to Tarien, the arrival of the fifth-generation US fighter is given even greater value based on the fact that the F-35 type aircraft had never previously landed outside of a US Air Force base. &ldquo;This demonstrates the strength of the defence related cooperation between the two countries as well as the level of our &Auml;mari Air Base,&rdquo; said Tarien.</p> <p>The F-35 type fighter aircraft arrived in Europe in the middle of April, in order to participate in training exercises along with NATO allies.</p> <p>The F-35 aircraft is able to operate as a fighter and reconnaissance aircraft as well as a tactical bomber. The F-35 is able to fly at speeds in excess of 1900 km/h; the aircraft&rsquo;s primary armaments include a GAU-22/A 25mm Gatling-type rotary canon and air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. Two additional missiles or bombs can be attached under the wings.</p> <p>The maiden flight of the F-35A fighter aircraft took place on 15 December 2006.</p>news_9727Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:31:00 +0300Brigadier General Indrek Sirel discussed the arrival of allied units in Turkeyhttp://www.mil.ee/en/news/9716/brigadier-general-indrek-sirel-discussed-the-arrival-of-allied-units-in-turkey<p>The Deputy Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Brigadier General Indrek Sirel, took part this week in a meeting organised by NATO Allied Land Command, in Turkey, in order to discuss questions related to the arrival of the NATO combat group and its presence in Estonia.</p><p>&ldquo;The meeting gave us an excellent opportunity to hone topics related to the NATO combat group,\" said Deputy Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Brigadier General Indrek Sirel, according to whom the arrival in Estonia of British and French servicemen and the transferring of their equipment is going according to plan. &nbsp;&ldquo;The integration of a multinational combat group will take a little bit of time, but their arrival definitely strengthens our defence capability as well as the interoperability of the alliance as a whole.&rdquo;</p> <p>Representatives from 14 countries participated in the NATO meeting, including the countries contributing to the NATO combat groups and the countries hosting them, with servicemen from NATO Force Integration Units (NFIU) also taking part in the meeting.</p> <p>Last June, at the Warsaw Summit, the leaders of NATO&rsquo;s 28 member countries decided, as a result of the changed security situation, to station alliance combat groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.</p> <p>The United Kingdom is the lead country for the allied battle group being sent to Estonia, with France and Denmark also contributing. &nbsp;A total of 1200 Allied soldiers will be arriving in Estonia as part of the combat group. The United Kingdom is contributing more than 800 servicemen, who will be equipped with Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, and AS90 self-propelled guns. France is contributing a unit with 300 servicemen to the combat group, which will be armed with Leclerc tanks, VBCI infantry fighting vehicles and VAB armoured vehicles. The French will be serving at Tapa for the next eight months, after which they will hand over responsibility to the Danes.</p>news_9716Thu, 30 Mar 2017 14:40:00 +0300French tanks arrived in Tapahttp://www.mil.ee/en/news/9713/french-tanks-arrived-in-tapa<p>The last part of the French military\'s technology park arrived today at the Defence Forces&rsquo; Tapa armed forces campus, with Leclerc tanks among the nearly thirty military vehicles.</p><p>France is contributing 300 servicemen and various types of combat equipment to the NATO combat group being stationed in Estonia. &nbsp;In addition to the tanks, the French servicemen are equipped with VBCI infantry combat vehicles and VAB armoured vehicles. &nbsp;At present there are 50 French servicemen in Estonia, the remainder will arrive in the first half of April. The French will be serving at Tapa for the next eight months, after which they will hand over responsibility to the Danes.</p> <p>The Estonian Defence Forces have prior experience working with the French in the operation in the Central African Republic as well as the anti-piracy operation Atalanta.</p> <p>The combat group is comprised of nearly 1200 allied soldiers. The United Kingdom is contributing more than 800 servicemen, along with Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, as well as AS90 self-propelled guns, and armoured vehicles.</p> <p>Last June, at the Warsaw Summit, the leaders of NATO&rsquo;s 28 member countries decided, as a result of the changed security situation, to station alliance combat groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. &nbsp;The United Kingdom is the lead country for the allied battle group to be stationed in Estonia, with France and Denmark also contributing.</p> <p>Photo gallery: <a href=\"http://pildid.mil.ee/index.php?/category/58022\">http://pildid.mil.ee/index.php?/category/58022</a></p>news_9713Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:38:00 +0300Transfer of allied battle group to Estonia continueshttp://www.mil.ee/en/news/9712/transfer-of-allied-battle-group-to-estonia-continues<p>The second half of the shipment of French military equipment, including infantry combat vehicles, being contributed to the allied battle group arrived today at the Estonian Defence Forces\' Tapa armed forces campus.</p><p>France is contributing 300 servicemen and various types of combat equipment to the NATO combat group being stationed in Estonia, including Leclerc tanks, which will be arriving tomorrow. &nbsp;In addition to the tanks, the French servicemen are equipped with VBCI infantry combat vehicles and VAB armoured vehicles. &nbsp;The French will be serving at Tapa for the next eight months, after which they will hand over responsibility to the Danes.</p> <p>The Estonian Defence Forces have prior experience working with the French in the operation in the Central African Republic as well as the anti-piracy operation Atalanta.</p> <p>The combat group is comprised of nearly 1200 allied soldiers. The United Kingdom is contributing more than 800 servicemen, along with Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, as well as AS90 self-propelled guns, and armoured vehicles.</p> <p>Last June, at the Warsaw Summit, the leaders of NATO&rsquo;s 28 member countries decided, as a result of the changed security situation, to station alliance combat groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. &nbsp;The United Kingdom is the lead country for the allied battle group to be stationed in Estonia, with France and Denmark also contributing.</p>news_9712Mon, 27 Mar 2017 18:18:00 +0300