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Safeguarding Alliance Airspace continues as Allies rotate the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission

RAMSTEIN, Germany - On September 1, 2017 NATO’s Baltic Air Policing (BAP) Mission will officially handover to the 45th rotation of National deployments with the U.S. Air Force taking the lead at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, and the Belgian Air Force augmenting from Ämari Air Base, Estonia.  
The rotation brings to an end the lead nation deployment of Polish F-16 fighters providing safety to the Baltic region from early May 17.  For the fifth time, as the lead nation, the U.S. Air Force are scheduled to deploy F-15C Eagles, Airmen and associated equipment from the 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom,  to Šiauliai Air Base.
At Ämari Air Base, the deployment of Spanish F-18 fighters also draws to a close, and Belgian F-16A- MLU Fighting Falcon jets and personnel will arrive with a mixed team from Kleine Brogel and Florennes Air Bases in Belgium to take over the mission there.  This is the third Belgian deployment as the augmenting nation with their personnel and aircraft also executing the augmenting mission in 2015 and 2016. For the Belgian Air Force this is already the sixth deployment within the framework of Baltic Air Policing since 2004.
Air Policing is a peacetime collective defence mission, conducted to safeguard the integrity of NATO Alliance members’ Airspace.  The Air Policing Mission above the Baltic States illustrates the ability of the Alliance to share and pool existing capabilities. Of note, Belgium served as the first nation to provide fighters under the BAP rotational plan back in March 2004, starting the Allied BAP success story.
Allied Air Command oversees all Air Policing missions with 24/7 command and control from two Combined Air Operations Centres at Uedem, Germany and Torrejón, Spain.
Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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