Poland ready to assume lead of NATO Air Policing in Baltics as Germany continues augmenting role
Polish F-16 and German Eurofighter jets will be executing NATO Baltic Air Policing in the first quarter of 2019, taking the mission into its fifteenth year. The Portuguese Air Force will join them in March and April with their F-16 fighters. Photos collage courtesy Polish Air Force, German Air Force Portuguese Air Force
Dec 13, 2018
RAMSTEIN, Germany – The Polish Air Force is preparing to return to Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, leading NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission from January 2019 on, while Germany continues to be the augmenting nation flying out of Ämari Air Base, Estonia.
The Polish Air Force will deploy four F-16C/D Block 52+ fighter jets to Šiauliai, Lithuania. This will be the eighth time, the Polish Air Force supports NATO’s mission safeguarding the skies over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Poland first supported the defensive peacetime mission for the first time in 2005 and has since deployed their MiG-29 and F-16 jets to Šiauliai Air Base and Ämari Air Base; moreover, 2014 and 2015 the Ally made available Malbork Air Base for Allied fighter deployments under NATO’s assurance measures.
Meanwhile, Germany is set to conduct its second back-to-back deployment after 2016/2017. The five German Air Force Eurofighter jets as well as pilots, maintainers and civilian and military support staff will remain at Ämari Air Base, Estonia until the end of April 2019. In late August 2018, Germany took over the augmenting role in Baltic Air Policing from the French Air Force.
In March 2019 a Portuguese Air Force F-16 detachment is scheduled to deploy to Malbork Air Base, Poland, under NATO’s assurance measures. 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