RAMSTEIN, Germany – On June 22, 2022, France conducted a paratroop airdrop with an A-400M transport aircraft to a drop zone in Estonia, where both Allies subsequently executed combined joint tactical training drills showcasing their close cooperation as NATO Allies.
With this force projection operation France reinforces NATO's Air Shielding posture on the eastern flank impressively
"With this short-notice operation, France has shown her ability to project forces to a NATO member with own air transport underlining cohesion and solidarity among Allies," said Allied Air Command Deputy Commander, Lieutenant General Pascal Delerce.
In the early morning of June 22, a French Air and Space Force A400M transport aircraft took off from France with about a hundred paratroopers on board to conduct an airdrop manoeuvre over Estonian territory. The activities, called Operation Thunder Lynx, also involved French Mirage 2000-5 fighter aircraft currently augmenting NATO's enhanced Air Policing mission in the Baltics. The jets temporarily based at Ämari in Estonia executed a training intercept and escort mission of the transport aircraft.
The Estonian Defence Forces had deployed two army platoons securing the drop zone, and additional ground forces joined the French paratroopers to conduct joint drills at the tactical level.
French paratroopers boarded the Air and Space Force A400M in Crete and airdropped into a zone secured by Estonian Defence Forces' platoon to conduct combined drills on June 22, 2022. En route the French Mirage 2000-5 fighters from NATOA's enhanced Air Policing at Ämari intercepted and escorted the transport aircraft. Photos courtesy French Armed Forces.
"France contributes to NATO's Air Shielding posture with the standing mission of Air Policing both at home and presently also in the Baltic region, and our ground forces support NATO's enhanced Forward Battle Group in Romania. With this force projection operation France reinforces NATO's deterrence and defensive posture on the eastern flank impressively underscoring its role as framework nation for the Alliance's Very High Readiness Task Force 2022," General Delerce added.