USAF has deployed 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft to Estonia. Meanwhile, the German Eurofighter jets, currently acting as a part of the Baltic Air Policing operation, identified and escorted a Russian Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft - Il-38, NATO codename: May.
12 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft landed at the Estonian Ämari airbase. The attack aircraft were deployed by the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, acting under the jurisdiction of the 23rd Wing stationed at the Moody AFB. The Warthogs are a part of the Theater Security Package which constitutes a temporary reinforcement of the Europe forces, coming from the units that are permanently based in the United States of America.
The A-10 aircraft are going to remain in Europe for six months, and they are going to be involved in the exercises with the NATO member states and the partner nations. In total, ca. 350 members of the USAF personnel were deployed to Estonia. Commander of the Squadron, Lt. Col. Bryan France, noted that the exercise is quite significant, as it leads to skill development of the US pilots, in cooperation with the foreign forces.
This is yet another Theater Security Package deployed to Europe this year. Earlier on, A-10 Thunderbolts of the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (involved in operations taking place in Poland, among other locations), and the National Guard F-15 jets also marked their presence within the European territory. The Americans decided to deploy the Theater Security Package units to Europe for the first time back in 2015, in the light of the Ukrainian crisis.
The Estonian Ämari base is currently also a home for the German Eurofighter Typhoon jets task force, operating within the scope of the Baltic Air Policing operaton. On 17th September the jets were scrambled, in order to identify and intercept the Russian Il-38 ‘May’ ASW aircraft, which took off from the Kaliningrad area and carried out a patrol flight, close to the territories of the Baltic republics. The aircraft was then escorted by the German Eurofighters. The operation also involved the Swedish Gripen jets.