Aircraft to Provide Aviation Training to NATO Allies
Britain’s Defence Minister, Gavin Williamson, told his NATO colleagues in Brussels on 13 February that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will add APACHE and WILDCAT helicopters to the UK’s commitment to supporting Estonia during the current year.
The aircraft will provide aviation training opportunities to NATO allies on Estonia’s annual Exercise Spring Storm as well as to the UK-led battlegroup stationed there. They will boost the British contingent to around 1,000 personnel in the Baltics, making the UK the largest contributor to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence – further reinforcing the alliance’s deterrence and defence posture.
Mr Williamson underlined UK support for the USA’s position on the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty following repeated violations by Russia – a stance shared by other allies. “Whenever the call comes from NATO, the UK has always been ready to reach into its full spectrum of capabilities and offer its support [….] That’s why we’re bolstering training in Estonia by deploying some of the world’s most advanced helicopters to the country,” he told the Defence Ministers’ meeting.
Ministers discussed a range of issues with counterparts, noting the continued progress being made by allies on defence spending. They also took the opportunity to welcome Macedonia as the latest member of NATO, recognising its accession as a positive for the Western Balkans region and for Euro-Atlantic security.