British Army, 5 RIFLES, D Company, Op CABRIT Estonia as part of NATO eFP (Enhanced Forward Presence) (Crown Copyright, 2017) [880]

1 YORKS Deploying on Op CABRIT

Yorkshire Soldiers Heading for Estonia this Summer

During his first visit to NATO’s Baltic ally, Estonia, the Defence Secretary revealed that 1 YORKS will deploy on Op CABRIT this summer, replacing 1 R WELSH. Gavin Williamson made the announcement during a hand-shaking mission to reaffirm to the Estonian President and Defence Minister the UK’s unwavering commitment to Euro-Atlantic security, a year after UK forces first arrived in country.

To Deter Russian Aggression

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

For nearly 70 years, NATO has been the guarantee of mutual security. The threats and dangers we face are evolving, intensifying and increasingly challenging – our commitment to our Allies has seldom been more important.

I’ve seen first-hand the vital role our brave Armed Forces are playing on NATO’s eastern border, standing shoulder to shoulder with our Allies to deter Russian aggression.

NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence

Nearly 2000 British troops, across two rotations, have led a multinational battlegroup in Estonia as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) deployment since it officially began just under a year ago in April 2017.

In an address, alongside his Estonian counterpart, Defence Minister Jüri Luik, to the 800 British troops and their NATO colleagues, stationed there now Mr Williamson said this reflected Britain’s global outlook and commitment to the defence of our friends and Allies across the Baltic region.

1 YORKS Next Deployment Confirmed

The 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh (1 R WELSH), are currently based in Tapa to enhance NATO’s deterrence posture and the Defence Secretary confirmed that the 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (1 YORKS), will take over from them in June as the UK’s enduring presence in Estonia continues.

Based in Warminster, Wiltshire, 1 YORKS is an armoured infantry battalion and part of 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade, one of the British Army’s deployable brigades. Equipped with the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle, 1 YORKS provides shock action and endurance to any operational force. They are experts in vehicle-mounted close combat. 1 YORKS is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Kennedy.

Getting Ready with Canadian ‘Prairie Storm’

Exercise Prairie Storm 2 in Canada dominated 2017 for 1 YORKS. The exercise was immensely challenging and saw 1 YORKS operating at the apex of the Army’s training architecture; collective training level 4 as a Battlegroup (BG). The exercise itself was by design the most demanding that the Army had constructed in a considerable number of years. 1 YORKS at peak numbered 1000 soldiers and some 330 vehicles of all types and descriptions.

The UK’s battlegroup forms part of the wider NATO eFP, with four multinational battlegroups deployed across the Baltic States and Poland, led by the UK, US, Canada and Germany. The UK has a further 150 soldiers based in Poland, part of the US-led battlegroup, and RAF Typhoons are due to deploy to Romania in May, patrolling the Black Sea skies.

In addition to the 800 personnel, the UK has committed more than 150 vehicles to support Estonia during this deployment, including Warrior infantry fighting vehicles and Challenger 2 tanks.

The Defence Secretary also held meetings in Tallinn with the President Kersti Kaljulaid, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Defence Minister Jüri Luik.

Sources: MOD; British Army.

Image: Pictured is a soldier from D Company, 5 RIFLES, operating on the edge of dense forest whilst taking part in a live firing multinational exercise in Estonia as part of NATO’s eFP (Enhanced Forward Presence). The exercise was designed to improve cohesion amongst the many nations contributing towards the eFP effort in the Baltics. UK Armed Forces are taking a leading role in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP), with the British Army leading a multinational Battlegroup in Estonia from early 2017. The eFP in the Baltic States will see the deployment of robust, multinational, combat-ready forces to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, on a persistent, rotational basis. This movement forms part of a wider package of initiatives designed to enhance Euro-Atlantic security, reassure our Allies and deter our adversaries. This deployment is just one aspect of a wide range of UK support to NATO. From January 2017, the UK assumed responsibility for NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) contributing about 3,000 personnel, leading a structured group of 14 partner nations.