Press Release: United States Aircraft Support Estonian Independence Day Fly-Over

An F-15E Strike Eagle flies over Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 19. Strike Eagles have been assigned to RAF Lakenheath for 25 years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

February 23, 2021


On February 24th, six aircraft from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) will fly over Estonia in honor of Estonian Independence Day and as a demonstration of the United States’ partnership with Estonia and ironclad commitment to our NATO allies. The U.S. aircraft — two KC-135 tanker aircrafts based at Royal Air Force Base Mildenhall and four F-15E fighter jets based at Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath — will participate in the Independence Day fly-over, joining L-39 training jets and a M-28 transport aircraft of the Estonian Air Force, Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets from the German Air Force deployed to Estonia as part of the Baltic Air Policing Mission, and Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets from the Italian Air Force deployed as part of the Baltic Air Policing Mission in Lithuania. Weather permitting, the fly-over will take place on February 24 between 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM over the cities of Kärdla, Kuressaare, Pärnu, Viljandi, Tartu, Rakvere, and Tallinn.

“Our enduring relationship with Estonia is strengthened by our military cooperation, and we are proud to celebrate with the people of Estonia on this important day,” said Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. “This flyover demonstrates our ironclad commitment to NATO allies and our shared readiness to meet any global challenge alongside them. We are honored to commemorate Estonia’s 103rd year of Independence and look forward to many more years of strong partnership.”

The U.S. aircraft participating in the Independence Day fly-over come from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA), the air component for both U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. African Command (USAFRICOM). The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the United States Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 60 years. This unique asset enhances the Air Force’s capability to accomplish its primary mission of global reach. The F-15E Strike Eagle is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. An array of avionics and electronics systems gives the F-15E the capability to fight at low altitude, day or night and in all weather.

Supporting our shared security and promoting defense cooperation are key components of the U.S-Estonia relationship. The United States has provided Estonia with over $200 million in joint defense cooperation since 2015. The United States and Estonia also conduct multiple exercises and military-to-military engagements between our service members each year.