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Portuguese F-16 (bottom), French Mirage 2000-5 (left) and Spanish Eurofighter (right) jets start executing the 47th rotation of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing in May Archive photo courtesy Portuguese, French and Spanish Air Forces

The 47th rotation of NATO fighter jets safeguarding the Baltic Allies airspace will be led by Portugal while France and Spain – within the framework of enhanced Air Policing – will be augmenting the mission from May 2018 on.

The Portuguese Air Force will deploy four F-16M fighter jets from Air Base No 5 Monte Real to Šiauliai, Lithuania, for the fourth time to provide Air Policing capabilities to safeguard the skies over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The 90-strong detachment of pilots, ground crews and support personnel will take over the lead of NATO Allied Air Command’s Air Policing mission from Denmark on May 2 during a ceremony at Šiauliai Air Base.

French Air Force Mirage 2000-5 fighters and Spanish Eurofighter jets will augment the peacetime mission of Air Policing in the Baltics that started with the accession Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to NATO in 2004.

The French detachment will be based at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, and bring four Mirage 2000-5 from 01.002 wing “Cigognes” and approx. 100 personnel from their home base at Luxeuil in the east of France. This is the seventh time French fighters conduct the NATO mission in the Baltics.

The Spanish Eurofighter detachment comprised of six jets and approx. 130 personnel from 11th Wing at Morón Air Base will be deployed at Šiauliai, too. Spain led the BAP mission in 2006 and 2016 and augmented it out of Ämari in 2015 and 2017, making this the fifth tour to the Baltics.

A third detachment fill for the standing peacetime mission of Baltic Air Policing is a result of additional aircraft offers made by Allies.  Such opportunities provide increased flexibility in employing assets to safeguard NATO airspace in the Baltic Region, and improved training opportunities.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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