5th Battalion The Rifles Battlegroup will be the lead element for the UK’s Enhanced Forward Presence, based in Estonia in 2017.
The armoured infantry battlegroup, based on the Warrior armoured fighting vehicle, will support our allies in the region and will be a forward presence to confront threats to global security. It will contain state of the art defensive equipment and the 800 troops will have undergone comprehensive and demanding training prior to deployment.
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wilson, Commanding Officer, 5th Battalion The Rifles said:
“Our purpose is to reassure the Estonian Government and the Estonian Defence Force of our commitment to the defence of a fellow NATO member.”
UK troops will be bolstered by over 200 troops from France and Denmark which will include main battle tanks and a company of infantry. This commitment from our European allies will endure beyond 2017.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
“We’re looking at how we can strengthen security in Europe and looking at how NATO and the EU can work better together. While the UK will be leaving the EU, we are totally committed to European security.”
5th Battalion The Rifles deployment will be defensive in nature and will offer experience and expertise to developing and supporting Estonian Armed Forces. It will also learn an enormous amount from all of our allies.
Minister of State for Armed forces, Mike Penning said:
“The men and women of 5 RIFLES will play an important role in Estonia, taking their skills and professionalism from Salisbury Plain to the heart of a NATO mission that will help our allies.”