Estonian Special Operations

Estonian Special Operations Force (ESTSOF)

The Estonian Special Operations Force (ESTSOF) is the Estonian Defence Forces‘ special forces unit, which is a part of the intelligence battalion. Most of the information concerning the unit is classified.


ESTSOF was officially formed in 1995, but only existed on paper until 2002, when a preparation group was made. Today an instructor staff, which had great training in different parts of the world, exists. Most of the men in the unit have experiences in small unit tactics from deployments like Afghanistan and Iraq. Though it is a subunit of the intelligence battalion, the project has been codenamed ESTSOF (Estonian Special Operations Force).

ESTSOF was officially mentioned for first time in 2005, when the Defence Force made a website public for a brief moment, introducing the new unit. At that time a search for the instructors was initiated and it was said, that by 2009 a 36 man recon platoon would become operational. Supposedly the SF members have to be ready to operate in urban, desert, mountainous and maritime environments and be able to operate behind enemy lines for months without outer support.

The project’s funding was sketchy at first, it was mainly taken from other areas, but by 2008 it had its own financial resources, that helped jump-start the project. By 2011, the first unit should be fully operational that can be sent on deployment with other NATO units.

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