A Spanish Eurofighter Typhoon Jet returns to Šiauliai Air Base from a mission. Spanish Forces photo by Capt A. Talavera (Released), ESP PAO ŠIAULIAI AIR BASE, Lithuania
– Taking lead nation responsibility on 7 Jan 2016, 130 Spanish Air Force personnel, operating 4 Eurofighter Typhoon Jets, are well underway to accomplishing their third Baltic Air Policing (BAP) Mission.
This 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.
A long way from Albacete Air Base and from their home unit weather, the contingent, led by Lt Col Juan Antonio Ballesta Miñarro work to ensure the Eurofighter Typhoon Jets providing the NATO Quick Reaction Aircraft (QRA) are maintained at readiness. Commanded and controlled from NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre, Uedem, Germany, they respond to aircraft operated in an unidentified, unusual or unsafe manner. On their first scramble 19 Jan, the Spanish Eurofighters were launched to intercept and escort a Russian Federation aircraft over the Baltic Sea.
Lt Col Juan Antonio Ballesta Miñarro delivers the initial organizational brief to the Spanish BAP contingent. Spanish Forces photo by Capt Alejandro Talavera (Released), ESP PAO
Safeguarding the integrity of Alliance members' sovereign airspace is a peacetime task contributing to NATO's collective defence. The Air Policing mission illustrates the ability of the Alliance to pool existing capabilities; having started in Apr 2004 it has been conducted continuously ever since. The Spanish Air Force will complete their lead nation Baltic Air Policing mission at the end of Apr 16.