USAFE Celebrates First Completed EDI-Funded Project

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  • By Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Parker, Defense Media Activity - Europe/Africa

United States Air Forces in Europe and the Estonian air force celebrated the completion of joint-use facilities with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Amari Air Base, Estonia. The official opening of an aircraft maintenance hangar marks the first completed military construction project fully funded by the European Deterrence Initiative. 

In addition to the hangar, the $13.86 million construction project also included a hazardous cargo pad, squadron operations facility and a dormitory. The dormitory is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2019. The USAFE-led construction projects deliver increased operating capabilities at Amari AB, Estonia, and contribute to collective defense.

“When you look at the United States and Estonia, we share a common value for freedom, security and prosperity,” said Brig. Gen. Roy Agustin, Director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, at headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa. “This allows us to train together, and respond to regional threats together, all by increasing the capabilities of Amari Air Base.”

Col. Riivo Valge, air chief of the Estonian air force, echoed those sentiments. “The maintenance facility is provided for the visiting units [Baltic Air Policing and Theater Security Packages] so they can have their own area for maintaining the aircraft and storing materials,” he said. “Everything that NATO is providing here is vital to helping police our borders.”

Valge went on to say, since the beginning of the NATO-led air policing, Estonia has hosted allied aircraft on standby 24/7, and that these construction projects help to facilitate those operations.

In all, more than $38 million in EDI funds are being invested at Amari Air Base.

Brig. Gen. Agustin stated in his opening remarks, “The $18 million in completed projects to date, and the over $20 million about to break ground, increases the capabilities, capacity, and responsiveness of this world class base for Estonian, United States and NATO allies to exercise and operate from as a joint team to address multi-domain security threats by a regional adversary against the sovereignty of NATO allies.”

In addition to supporting the collective defense and security of NATO allies, EDI funded projects also enables the United States to enhance the U.S. deterrence posture, increase the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe, and bolster the security and capacity of U.S. partners.

 “Estonia is a key U.S. ally and strong partner in fostering security, stability and peace,” said Brig. Gen. Agustin. “The sustained interaction and friendship between Estonia and the U.S. enables us to strengthen readiness and coordination in response to security threats and during times of crisis.  We will continue to build on the strong foundations of our common interests and sustain our efforts to increase capability, readiness and responsiveness.”