Home Air In a first: US deploys MQ-9 Reaper RPAS to Estonia

In a first: US deploys MQ-9 Reaper RPAS to Estonia

MQ-9 Reaper during offload in Estonia. Photo: US Air Force

The US Air Force deployed MQ-9 Reapers from Detachment 2 at Miroslawiec Air Base in Poland to Estonia’s Amari Air Base for the first time ever.

The armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft arrived in Estonia on June 14. One of the aircraft was transported via cargo truck from Miroslawiec AB, where it was then offloaded and assembled in a hangar at Amari with the help of the Estonian Air Force.

According to the service, the purpose of the deployment is to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions within the European theater, and is made possible through the utilization of Amari AB.

“We are specifically focusing on air, maritime, and land domain,” said Brig. Gen. Jason Hinds, Deputy Director of Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration and the United States Air Forces in Europe and United States Air Forces Africa Air Operations Center Director. “We are gathering requirements from the US European Command and our NATO allies, and then we are going to execute those taskings in coordination with the Estonian Air Force.”

Throughout the length of the deployment, the aircraft will be performing ISR missions in support of NATO until they return to Poland.

The Estonian Air Force has made the operation at Amari possible through offering their assets to complete the mission.

“We are the first American contingent to operate out of their hangar and operations building,” said Lt. Col. Clayton Sanders, 52 Operations Group Detachment 2 commander. “The Estonians have done everything they can to help us work out the kinks to operate out of both buildings, and that is where we have seen the increase in partnership.”

US Air Force file photo