ÄMARI, Estonia – The French Air Force during a ceremony today took over NATO's enhanced Air Policing mission from the Italian Air Force, augmenting Baltic Air Policing that safeguards the airspace over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
"NATO's presence in Estonia, and in the region, has never been so significant as it is now and your air policing activities are indispensable part of NATO's visible presence and deterrence in the Eastern border of the Alliance," Estonian Minister of Defence Mr. Jüri Luik addressed both detachents in the presence of senior political and military representatives from Estonia, France, Italy and NATO and international guests. "It is of utmost importance that you are here and your contribution to the Baltic Air Policing mission is invaluable," the Minister added.
After a successful tour in the Baltic region the Italian Air Force
Eurofighter detachment led by Colonel Eros Zaniboni will redeploy to
Italy. The 100-strong French Mirage 2000-5 detachment under Lieutenant
Colonel Vincent Repolt is going to ensure quick reaction alert
interceptor duties to continue execution of the Allied mission.
"Here at Ämari the Air Policing detachment has another mission under NATO's Assurance Measures – a mission introduced in 2014, which has consistently demonstrated Allied collective resolve, the defensive nature of NATO, and also is forming part of NATO's successful collective deterrence posture," said NATO's Allied Air Command representative, Hellenic Air Force Brigadier General Panagiotis Dimopoulos, Deputy Commander of the southern Combined Air Operations Centre in Torrejon
, Spain. "Both, the rotating detachments and the Host Nation, have been instrumental in supporting this goal visibly and very successfully," he added recognising the commitment by the Allies.
Since May 2014, the Estonian base has been host to the augmenting detachment for the standing peacetime Air Policing mission in the region hosting 17 successive rotations of Allied fighter aircraft visibly underlining NATO's collective commitment and solidarity. The mission is controlled by the northern Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem
Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office