TALLINN --- B-1 Lancer strategic bombers of the United States on Tuesday rehearsed cooperation with forward observers of the Estonian defense forces and NATO allies at the Estonian defense forces' central training grounds as part of the Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) military exercise.
"For NATO, and specifically for our region, training exercises of US strategic bombers in our airspace are an important sign of how serious the Americans are about their role in protecting the Baltic countries," Estonia's Defense Minister Juri Luik said.
"The United States is one of our most important allies, and it is important that our allies understand that security cannot be put on a pause for the duration of the pandemic and are looking for possibilities to demonstrate strong deterrence under the current conditions. I consider it particularly important that strategic bombers are rehearsing their tasks participating in our training exercise," the minister said.
Luik described Spring Storm as a good example of how it is possible to conduct military exercises and maintain preparedness during the pandemic.
Two B-1 Lancer strategic bombers flew to Estonia from Ellsworth Air Base in South Dakota. They also performed airborne refueling during the flight that lasted almost 24 hours.
At the central training grounds of the Estonian defense forces the bombers supported the training of forward observers of Estonia, the United Kingdom and Denmark by dropping mock bombs.
"Today's training exercise demonstrated that for the air force no target is too far away. Our allies, even if they are on the other side of the globe, can be here within a limited number of hours if necessary," said the commander of the Estonian Air Force, Col. Rauno Sirk. (end of excerpt)
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