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RAF take Estonian dogs to the skies

RAF Chinooks on operations in Estonia have hosted a group of Estonian working dogs for some flying familiarisation training.

Image shows RAF Chinooks in a row, on a snowy airfield.

The dogs had the chance to explore a Chinook and experience a short flight to ensure they are comfortable with the noise and movement onboard. The crew from 18(B) Squadron, RAF Odiham, welcomed dogs from Estonian military and civilian forces.

Image shows RAF Military Working Dog wearing headgear.

The dogs and their handlers practiced rapid embarkation and debarkation drills. It was a new experience for many of the handlers as well, who kept the dogs calm and attentive during the flight. The dogs displayed their exceptional discipline and enthusiasm.

This sort of training in a new environment is important in case the dogs ever need to be transported quickly by helicopter. Having had the experience previously, they are more likely to respond well for a real-life, high-pressure scenario.

Image shows RAF Military Working Dog wearing headgear with RAF Regiment, exiting a Chinook on the airfield

The Chinooks are in Estonia supporting NATO forces as part of the enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup. This follows the bilateral agreement between the Defence Ministers of Estonia and the UK. More usual taskings for the Chinooks has been transporting troops and carrying loads, both internally and underslung.

Sharing the Chinook with the working dogs was a unique experience. I was surprised to see how well they behaved in the new environment - it really showed how trusting the dogs are of their handlers.

Flight Lieutenant Rennie
RAF Officer

Image shows RAF aviators attending improvised medic scene with patient on the floor in a tea bar.

The 13 dogs and 15 handlers were from: Estonia Rescue EOD, Estonian Prison Service, Estonian Military Police, Estonian Police and Border Guard K9 unit and the Northern Prefecture dog handlers and service dogs.

Part of our mission is to familiarise local Estonian forces with the aircraft and how we use it. This was a great opportunity to work with civilian and military dog handling teams and improve our ability to work together.

Wing Commander Carter
Commanding Officer of the Chinook Deployment

Image shows RAF Regiment kneeling, as a Chinook flies overhead.

Unfortunately due to security reasons the Dogs were unavailable for comment but they all had a great ‘Tail’ to tell on landing.

Image shows RAF Chinook on the airfield during sunset.