French and British armored vehicles disembark in Estonia for NATO enhanced Forward Presence operation


The ship’s load, which covered more than 2,000 nautical miles between the ports of La Rochelle (France) and Paldiski (Estonia), included 12 of the iconic French Leclerc tanks as well as a range of armored vehicles such as the 8x8 VBCI (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie).
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French and British Army armored vehicles, including 12 Leclerc main battle tanks (photo), and other military equipment arrived at the port of Paldiski, Estonia to support the UK-led enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup. (Picture source: Estonian Defence Forces PAO)


“There are many challenges from organizing the use of a civilian port, unloading a vessel this size in a good time and using certain routes to the likes of Tapa with escort vehicles,” said Lt. Jon Caulder from the eFP Battlegroup. “The UK, Estonia and France have different regulations and policies for doing this, but we work together to get the best solutions to ensure vehicles and equipment come off the ship, onto the port side and to their destination”.

The UK consignment on board included armored vehicles such as CV90 Warriors and Bulldogs, field guns and 4×4 all-terrain vehicles. Both these and the French vehicles and equipment were off-loaded by a team of UK and Estonian movers. “The arrival of French troops and the rotation of UK unit gives us an opportunity to train reception procedures and to develop cross-nation cooperation. It is great that our allies have decided to use different modes of transportation to deploy to Estonia – using air, sea and land," stated Maj. Lauri Kiviloo, the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Support Command’s Movement and Transportation Service,

This provides us with a chance to test our interoperability in different transportation hubs and proves vividly, that moving allied units to Estonia is not hindered by the pandemic.


 

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