US Air Force Deploys 14 F-16s to Estonia

The United Stated Air Force is deploying 14 F-16 Fighting Falcon jets to Ämari Air Base in Estonia. Based in Aviano, Italy, the F-16s are from the 510th Fighter Squadron of the 31st Fighter Wing.

F-16 Fighting Falcon Equipped with a GBU-31 JDAM.
F-16 Fighting Falcon equipped with a GBU-31 JDAM.

The F-16s will conduct local training with Estonian aircrafts and will also perform simultaneous training with the Finnish and Swedish Air Force in their airspace.

While they are in Estonia, the F-16s will train with Estonian JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers), whose job is to guide allied aircrafts’ bombs—such as the GBU-31—on target. JTACs will provide the allies with surgical strikes capabilities while keeping the collateral damage at a minimum.

Estonian JTACs.
Estonian JTACs.

Multinational training in the Baltic States are becoming more common since Russia has annexed Crimea in 2014. The United States of America is sending many units to the region to improve interoperability between nations while reassuring the neighbour allies.

Recently, Russian strategic bombers and multi-role fighter aircrafts have been probing NATO airspace across Europe. To counter the Russian incursions, NATO has been rotating squadrons of fighter aircrafts from many allied countries to counter the Russians.

The US Air Force F-16s will stay in Northern Europe until April 17. The US Air Force also deployed a Theatre Security Package (TST) and 12 A-10 Warthog attack planes to Spangdahlem, Germany in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

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Jonathan Wade, CD

Jonathan Wade is the director of the ‘The Sentinel Analytical Group’ and a decorated veteran of the Canadian Forces. Specialized in tactical, strategic, intelligence and geopolitics analysis, Jonathan has a fondness for technical details. His military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war. A combat veteran of Afghanistan, Jonathan brings in in-theatre experience. Jonathan writes about Russia, Canada and Arctic.