Covering the Costs of Additional Air Patrols

Tallinn, Estonia—Estonia will cover the additional support costs associated with the plus-up of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission through a supplemental budget, Estonian Air Force Commander Col. Jaak Tarien told Air Force Magazine. This means the NATO ally will not have to cut defense spending in other areas, he said during an interview at Amari Air Base here in Estonia on June 13. Estonia has spent 60 million Euros and has received an additional 35 million Euros from the NATO security investment program to upgrade Amari, which is now one of the most modern airfields in the European theater. The original plan was to reach 24/7 operational capability with Amari in 2015, but the timeline was significantly pushed up due to Russian aggression in Ukraine, said Tarien. “When the political situation changed, we had to support the Danish air policing operations around the clock. … We started recruiting at a more active pace and people are working a lot of extra hours, but we can now sustain, with some stress to our personnel, 24/7 operations,” said Tarien. However, Estonian forces will have to continue recruiting to sustain the operational pace long-term, he added. (For more from Tarien’s interview, read No Baltic Fighter Force.)