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Allied forces in Estonia

The security situation in Europe has changed considerably following the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine. To ensure the security situation and strengthen deterrence and collective defence, NATO, together with its allies, has increased its presence in the Baltic Sea region.

Allied battle group in Estonia

In June of 2016, at the Warsaw Summit, the leaders of NATO’s 28 member countries decided, as a result of the changed security situation, to station alliance battle groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The purpose of the battle group stationed in Estonia is to demonstrate solidarity, to strengthen Estonia’s independent defence capability, to deter Russia and keep the peace; in other words, the battle group is ready, if necessary, to stand with the Estonian Defence Forces against Russian aggression, in order to buy time until the arrival of Allied Forces.

As a result of long-term and fruitful military cooperation, the United Kingdom, acting as the lead country, and France, Denmark and Iceland, acting as contributing countries, decided to deploy units to Estonia.

Declaration » (PDF)

The Allied battalion battle group, which arrived in Estonia in the spring of 2017, and is operating at Tapa within the composition of the 1st Infantry Brigade of the Defence Forces, is comprised of nearly 1200 servicemen. 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 eight months, after which they will be replaced by a Danish unit.

The land forces battle group has independent combat capability provided by all of the equipment and armaments that are standard for armoured units: combat tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, pioneer armoured vehicles, and various other types of armoured support vehicles (communication, medical, logistics).



NATO Baltic air-policing mission


With the arrival of allied forces in the spring 2014, Ämari Air Base became a NATO Baltic air-policing mission base.

Fighter aircraft stationed at Ämari and taking part in the NATO air-policing mission will strengthen our security. Since the spring of 2014, allied aircraft have been stationed at Ämari on four-month rotations. In addition, air force training is also carried out in the airspace here.

Ämari Air Base is one of the most modern in Europe, with very good training conditions and the Defence Forces are ready to receive allied aircraft and support personnel twenty-four hours a day.


NATO reaction speed is being raised


At the Wales Summit, NATO members adopted a Readiness Action Plan.

The Action Plan calls for the following measures for strengthening NATO’s deterrence posture:

  • The creation of a brigade sized rapid reaction force, capable of reacting to any kind of crisis in a short period of time.
  • Necessary armaments and equipment will be prepositioned in NATO’s eastern border countries.
  • NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) – which are small headquarters – will be established in six countries (including Estonia), in order to adjust NATO’s command structure to the new security situation.

A closer look at NATO’s Readiness Action Plan » (PDF)


Investments in the presence of allies


The presence of allies is important for Estonia, and the government is making the requisite investments.

The government has set aside EUR 40 million for building the necessary infrastructure for the allies over the next five years.

The funds will be used to build barracks, develop the Defence Forces’ central training area and build prepositioned warehouses for supplies and armaments.

The necessary infrastructure will also be built for NATO command elements.

Our goal is to be a good host for our allies.



Last updated: 22 October 2019