1310 Flight of the Royal Air Force currently based in Mali west Africa, in support of French counter insurgency operations has been conducting exercises with a Malian based Estonian Army detachment.
The RAF Chinook helicopter detachment has been conducting an air mobility exercise with the Estonian Army Force Protection platoon that is based at Gao airfield and provides part of the guard force for the airfield.
The exercise gave the Estonians the opportunity to board and deplane from the Chinook in operational conditions and also experience a short flight in the aircraft. Welcoming the opportunity, the Estonian platoon commander said: “We aim to train as we would fight so this is an excellent opportunity to practice what we could be called upon to do.”
Documenting the training, Flight Lieutenant Andy Donovan, one of the pilots said “They were highly professional and seized the opportunity to board and disembark aggressively, as they would in the field if they were called upon. They seemed to find it a very valuable training experience.”