UK Ministry of Defence loans Estonian Special Forces equipment for fight against terrorists in Mali

Estonian Special Forces deploying to Mali will be loaned four Jackal armoured vehicles by the UK Ministry of Defence, it is today announced. The deal includes a three-week training package for Estonian Armed Forces personnel. 

The UK is loaning the Jackal 2 vehicles to the EDF while they await the delivery of their Coyote armoured reconnaissance vehicles. The Jackals will be loaned until March 2021 or earlier if the Coyotes are delivered before then.

Estonian troops are set to join the international coalition currently fighting against Islamic terrorism in the Sahel region of Africa. The Baltic state is an active NATO member. 

Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said:

"Having served with the Estonians in Afghanistan, I've seen first-hand the excellence of their Armed Forces and the depth of the friendship between our two nations.

"With the Jackal 2 the Estonian Armed Forces will be equipped with a proven, battle winning vehicle as they join the international effort to tackle terrorism."

The Jackals will help the Estonians navigate unpredictable terrain in the Sahel, where their presence will add to the UK's impact on the international effort to fight the illegal migration routes into Europe, and terrorist groups that operate in the region.

British Army experts will this week finish providing drivers and crew from the Estonian Armed Forces (EDF) with a three-week training course on operating the Jackal 2 at Robertson Barracks in Norfolk.

Over 800 British troops deployed in Estonia build understanding and share expertise with their local EDF counterparts on a daily basis with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers currently providing the bulk of the combat capable force.

Further collaboration between the two countries has seen RAF Typhoons deploy to Estonia for NATO Air Policing in 2016 and 2019, when the jets conducted 21 interceptions of 56 Russian aircraft.

Boasting a unique air-bag suspension system allowing rapid movement across the roughest terrain, the Jackal has been extensively used by British forces in Afghanistan. Designated as a “high mobility weapons system”, it is designed to protect personnel against roadside explosions and mine attacks but also has an “open” crew compartment and a gun-ring with 360-degree sweep for excellent observation and agility.