Last week (26/7th September) the British Army’s 2 RIFLES battlegroup deployed into Southern Estonia to participate on Exercise OKAS 2022.
On 22nd September the Estonian Government invited 2,861 Reservists, from 11th Infantry Battalion and 16th Air Defence Battalion, plus Estonian Defence League (EDL) members from 42nd Northeast Territorial Defence Unit, to the defence readiness exercise OKAS 2022.
On the 2022 iteration of the OKAS (translates as QUILL in English) exercise, which lasted from 22nd to 28th September, the national defence operational chain of command was tested, from the decision-making of the government to the gathering of Reservists under the rapid response structure. The OKAS exercise is held every year, as per the decision of the government, and is an unannounced exercise for the participants. The national defence model based on the Estonian Reserve Army assumes they are ready to react and practice quickly at any time.
On the morning of 27th September elements of the British Army’s 2 RIFLES (2nd Battalion The Rifles) battlegroup arrived in Southern Estonia to: occupy areas; establish defensive positions; and patrol in Põlva and Võru County. Britain’s second formation currently forward deployed to Estonia on Operation CABRIT as part of the NATO eFP (enhanced Forward Presence) mission to reinforce Alliance nations, this roughly 750-strong light infantry role battlegroup was integrated with the Estonian 2nd Infantry Brigade in June of this year. The British Army unit’s permanent location is the town of Tapa, but since the end of July the 2 RIFLES battlegroup has also been exercising in southern Estonia in company-sized units.