World

NATO Powers Come Together For Ämari Air Show

Thousands gathered to admire NATO's show of strength and secrets in the skies of Estonia.

NATO was given the chance to demonstrate their presence in the Balkans during a dramatic aerial display at Ämari Air Base in Harjumaa.

Over 20 aircraft from several countries arrived at the station to celebrate 70 years of NATO and 100 years of the Estonian Air Force.

Major General Martin Herem, Commander of the Estonian Defence Force, spoke of the solidarity demonstrated:

"What you see here today is the Force coming from our allies, but also the people.

"They know that in case of crisis we will be supported and reinforced."

The Wildcat helicopter crew welcome families aboard.

Amongst the vehicles putting on a show for spectators were the British Apache and Wildcat helicopters.

Crew from 847 Naval Air Squadron, having just returned from Exercise Baltic Protector, invited children inside the grounded Wildcat to take a look inside.

Lieutenant Mark Hanson joked: "It’s good to get them interested…But we’re weary of them pressing and breaking things, we don’t want to get stuck here!".

Unsurprisingly, the Typhoon jets on display were gone in a flash - required to complete a training sortie immediately to bolster their policing operation in the Baltics.

Wing Commander Dave Voreham, Commanding Officer of 121 Exhibitionary Air Wing, spoke to Forces News before taking to the skies: "We’re on a heightened readiness state.

"Once we get that call we’ll be airborn very, very quickly to intercept the aircraft, even though there’s an air show."

AWACS, NATO's 'eyes in the sky', grounded for display in Estonia.

As part of an eye-catching exhibition, NATO also gave the public exclusive access to its 'eyes in the sky', the AWACS.

The Airborne Warning and Control System is NATO's only aircraft, an advanced early warning system that uses radar technology to detect threats before orchestrating attacks from other aircraft.

Opened up to the Air Show spectators for the first time, the AWACS would normally hold highly-classified information.

Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Glowka, from NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force, said the access served an important purpose, even if a few secret boxes had to be removed:  

"We think it’s essential for the population in the Baltics to see who’s flying overhead day and night to make the air space safer."