Allies prepare to continue NATO Baltic Air Policing mission
16 Dec 2015
Members of the 39th rotation of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission – lead nation Hungary and augmenting nation Germany – wrap up their deployments at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania and Ämari Air Base, Estonia, respectively, as Spain and Belgium prepare to take over the mission.
Spain will lead the 40th rotation of NATO’s
Baltic Air Policing mission out of Šiauliai, Lithuania for the first three
months of 2016 with Eurofighter Typhoon jets from 14th Wing at
Albacete.Photo courtesy Spanish Air Force.
At Šiauliai Air Base, Hungary wraps up its first deployment under NATO’s mission, providing safety to the Baltic region through the end of 2015. Spain will now serve as the new BAP lead nation, which is the second deployment for Spanish Air Force jets to Šiauliai after their last mission in 2006 with the Mirage F1 fighter. In the interim years, Spain augmented the BAP mission at Ämari, Estonia, from May to August 2015.
The deployment of German Eurofighter Typhoons at Ämari Air Base also draws to a close this month. Belgian F-16 fighter jets will arrive and take over the mission there. For Belgium, this is the second deployment as an augmenting nation after taking an extended seven-month rotation from January to August 2015. Belgium served as the first nation to provide fighters under the BAP rotational plan in March 2004, starting the Allied BAP success story. Their airmen and aircraft also executed the mission in 2006 and 2013.
The BAP mission will officially hand over on January 7 both at Šiauliai and Ämari. Two handover-takeover ceremonies will take place with representatives from all Allies involved in NATO’s BAP 39th and 40th rotations.
The Belgian Air Force will fly their F-16s in support of the
40th rotation of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission out of Ämari, Estonia in
2016. This is the Belgian Air Force fifth BAP deployment.Photo courtesy Belgian Air Force.
The BAP mission illustrates the Alliance’s ability to share the security responsibilities of the Baltic nations. Continuously executed since 2004, Allied nations regularly rotate the BAP mission command as part of the Alliance’s collective defence agreement, providing air policing jets in support of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. So far, 17 different NATO nations have executed this mission.
The BAP mission is a visible assurance to NATO Allies and a demonstration of the Alliance’s commitment to the collective defence of its members. The alert aircraft visibly prove the Alliance is ready and responsive 24/7/365.