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May 2 2023

RAF Typhoons provide Close Air Support for NATO battlegroup in Estonia

SZCZECIN, Poland  Currently conducting the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission in Estonia, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoons from IX (B) Squadron provided Close Air Support training during exercise Bold Hussar, which served to integrate the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup's new rotation into the Estonian Army.

Carried out in mid-April, the three-day exercise involved the Typhoons working with British, French and Estonian Defence Force Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) based at Tapa in eastern Estonia. The British and French ground forces are part of the long-established NATO eFP mission in support of the Estonian Defence Forces.

A RAF Typhoon delivers Close Air Support (CAS) to friendly forces during exercise Bold Hussar; CAS is defined as an air action by an aircraft against hostile targets that are in close proximity to friendly forces © The Royal Air Force

During the exercise the Estonian JTACs took the lead on the ground, closely supported by their NATO Allies from the UK and France. The air-to-ground targeting serials demonstrated the RAF’s ability to precisely hit ground targets. Flight Lieutenant Wilkinson, IX (B) Squadron Pilot, said:

Exercise Bold Hussar is an example of the Typhoon’s ability to effortlessly switch from being a world-class fighter into a highly effective ground attack aircraft.  Exercises like these are key to ensuring our pilots maintain their overall combat readiness.

The Typhoons from IX (B) Squadron are part of the RAF's 140 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) and are currently deployed on Operation Azotize to Amari Air Base in Estonia where they are conducting NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. Throughout this NATO deployment, RAF personnel will also be undertaking exercises designed to challenge both personnel and equipment in various high-end warfighting scenarios. These exercises provide RAF personnel with opportunities to work alongside NATO air and ground-based assets that they would not normally be able to do in the UK.

Exercise Bold Hussar was designed to integrate The Queen's Royal Hussars and the 13th Demi-Brigade (along with their supporting units) into the Estonian 1st Infantry Brigade © The Estonian Defence Forces.

The RAF will continue to undertake the Air Policing Mission in Estonia as a combined force alongside German Air Force Allies until the end of April. 140 EAW will then continue this Mission until August when they will hand over to the Spanish Air Force.

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Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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