August 11, 2020
The United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) completed $10.8 million worth of improvements to Estonia’s Ämari Air Base in July with European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) funding. USAFE partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a new tactical fighter apron adjacent to the runway that will accommodate parking for twelve tactical fighter aircraft and turnaround space for transport aircraft.
The EDI investment enhances U.S. deterrence posture, supports the collective security of NATO, and bolsters the capacity of U.S. Allies and Partners. The new airfield infrastructure will support various types of U.S. and NATO fighter aircraft and enables more aircraft to operate from Ämari Air Base in cooperation with the Estonian Defense Forces. These improvements directly support increased airfield presence and improve the readiness at Ämari Air Base for various U.S. and NATO operations, including bilateral and multinational exercises, training, and NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission.
These improvement benefit both Estonia and the United States. In recent years, U.S. aircraft, such as the F-35A Lightning II, F-15E Strike Eagle, and MC-130J Commando II, have used Estonian airspace and Ämari Air Base to conduct joint training with the Estonian Defense Forces. In May and June 2020, U.S. based B-1 Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress bombers partnered with aircraft from the Baltic Air Policing mission at Ämari Air Base and the Estonian Defense Forces to conduct interoperability training. The improvements to Ämari Air Base support the United States and Estonia’s defense cooperation.
The transatlantic strategic relationship between the U.S. and Estonia is built on a foundation of shared values, experiences and vision. U.S. European Command’s forward-based posture demonstrates America’s continued commitment to defending mutual interests and is the bedrock of our ability to respond to threats in the region.
The United States European Command and Estonian Defense Forces continue to work together to achieve joint strategic objectives and guarantee stability in the region. The United States has provided Estonia with over $190 million in joint defense cooperation since 2015, and takes part in more than 80 military-to-military engagements between our service members each year.