Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced that Britain and Germany will participate in the first joint air operations over Estonia.
The 140 Expeditionary Air Wing will send around 300 RAF personnel to the Baltic country, which shares a border to Russia, to lead NATO aerial policing operations.
British pilots will be able to work with Typhoon jets of the German Air Force in live “integrated” missions.
Wallace praised the display of NATO unity, adding that “our RAF personnel in Estonia play a vital part in ensuring Europe’s skies security and strengthening NATO’s presence within eastern Europe.”
“These joint operations, which are a demonstration of the strength and unity the NATO alliance, and our shared determination to keep peace and security throughout the region,”
For the next four months, the UK will take over from Germany as the leader of the NATO mission in Estonia. This country is a member to the military alliance.
Wing Commander Scott Maccoll is the commanding officer for 140 Expeditionary Air Wing. He stated: “We have been cooperating for some time, and the level of collaboration has now reached an entirely new level.
“It is a pleasure to continue to work with our German allies in all aspects of our mission, from maintenance and operation to planning and logistics activities.
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“What better way than to show the strength and unity in the NATO Alliance through successful, joint operations like this?”
Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Hachmeister was the commander of the German Detachment. He stated: “Working with our allies from Royal Air Force on a live mission has been what we have been looking for since we started this mission.
“Now, we can show interoperability during these difficult times to defend our Baltic partners as well NATO’s Eastern flank.”
“The foundation for successful cooperation is years of practice and good luck in working together.”
John Healey, Labour’s shadow defense secretary, stated that his party is committed to NATO cooperation with allies such as Germany.
He said, “But the Conservatives’ mismanagement in defence projects like Wedgetails and cuts military transport planes leave the UK’s NATO obligations uncertain.”