The French Armed Forces conducted Operation THUNDER LYNX, a force projection operation towards Estonia. About a hundred paratroopers from the French 11th Airborne Brigade were deployed by an A-400M transport aircraft above the Estonian territory, to be dropped over a zone held by Estonian soldiers. This airdropping was followed by a joint tactical training maneuver between French and Estonian units. Operation THUNDER LYNX highlights and illustrates the ability of the French Armed Forces to urgently deploy, at very short notice, at any time and any place, to support any NATO Allies in Europe.
France is attached to the fundamental principle of strategic solidarity, the bedrock of NATO’s unity and cohesion. Part of the 12 founding member countries of NATO, France is a reliable, credible, and supportive ally to the Alliance and European partners. This airborne operation participates in the strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defensive posture on its eastern flank, especially in the Baltic countries and Romania. Bound by a Defence Agreement since 2012, France and Estonia have a dense bilateral military relationship.
The engagement of French units in NATO missions in Estonia, within the Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) and Enhanced Air Policing (eAP), have strengthened interoperability between the French and Estonian forces. It enables French and Estonian soldiers to work together for the defense and the security of the Alliance. Their presence makes clear that an attack on one Ally will be considered an attack on the whole Alliance. NATO’s battle groups form part of the biggest reinforcement of NATO’s collective defense in a generation.
NATO has enhanced its presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, with four multinational battle groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. These battle groups, led by the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the United States respectively, are multinational, and combat-ready. Enhanced Air Policing is part of NATO’s Assurance Measures introduced in 2014, after Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of the Crimean peninsula. The Alliance implemented these Assurance Measures with the goal to demonstrate the collective resolve of Allies and deter Russia from aggression or the threat of aggression against NATO Allies.