The Estonian Ministry of Defence, in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, is creating a joint working group to assess the regulations and procedures governing safety during military aircraft exercises.
In light of the circumstances of the recent incident with the Spanish NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission aircraft working group is tasked with reviewing all regulatory and other measures with which the safety of civil aviation is ensured during military aircraft exercises. ‘The creation of this working group is not based on the presumption that the error was in the procedures or that the incident was caused by flawed regulations; however, we consider it our obligation, in light of the seriousness of the incident, to once again review, in addition to the technical circumstances, the regulations,’ said Meelis Oidsalu, Undersecretary for Defence Planning at the Ministry of Defence. The studying of technical details will be carried out by the Spanish, whose planes and rockets were involved’.
The specific incident in question did not occur due to procedural circumstances or regulations, and civilian air traffic was not endangered; however, taking into consideration the seriousness of the incident, it must be confirmed that Estonia is also doing everything it possibly can to ensure safety,’ noted Meelis Oidsalu. ‘Aircraft exercises and aircraft exercise related planning is highly detailed and, taking into consideration safety questions, strictly regulated, and takes place in close cooperation with air safety specialists from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, which is why their representative has been included in the working group,' added Oidsalu.
The creation of aircraft exercise areas is preceded by a thorough and comprehensive analysis and the creation of the area may take several years, with great consideration given. ‘The workgroup is dependent in its activities on the results of the investigation being conducted in Spain and we will definitely be meeting with representatives from the Spanish Armed Forces and their Ministry of Defence. Taking into consideration the specifics of the domain, we cannot publish all of the information; however, the main conclusions will be presented to the public,’ said Meelis Oidsalu.