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Dec 30 2019

Baltic Air Policing detachments from the Czech Republic and Denmark look back at successful rotation

As NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission is approaching another routine turnover on January 2, 2020 two out of the three current detachments are getting prepared for their redeployment. Whilst the Belgian Air Force detachment is remaining in Šiauliai, Lithuania for a double tour until May 2020, the augmenting Czech Air Force is going to hand over to a detachment of the Polish Air Force at Ämari Airbase, Estonia. The additional detachment from Denmark, also based at Šiauliai together with the detachment from Belgium, is going to redeploy without a replacement since the upcoming rotation will be conducted by only two detachments as usual.  

Both outgoing detachments are looking back at a successful mission. The Czech Air Force has launched more than ten times against unidentified aircraft that posed potential dangers to the safety and security of NATO’s airspace. Moreover several hundred flying hours had been dedicated for training flights, a lot of them in support for training events of the Baltic Control and Reporting Centre or NATO‘s enhanced Forward Presence units stationed in the three Baltic States.

Thanks to the host nation support provided by the Estonian Air Force at Ämari Airbase, this deployment has been successful in every single way

"Thanks to the host nation support provided by the Estonian Air Force at Ämari Airbase, this deployment has been successful in every single way" Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Pavlík, Commander of the Czech detachment summarizes the four months of his detachment’s mission. A total of five JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets stood ready around the clock to take off at the alert by NATO’s responsible Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany. 

One of the JAS-39 GRIPEN fighters of the Czech Air Force detachment over the coastline of NATO member Estonia during a Mission. 
Photo courtesy of Czech Air Force Baltic Air Policing detachment.

The detachment of the Royal Danish Air Force at Šiauliai with their four F-16 fighters is looking back at an equally successful mission. Their deployment marks the seventh time Alliance member Denmark has been contributing to the NATO mission to secure the Baltic skies. They are also counting more than ten take-offs to visually identify unidentified aircraft in or approaching NATO airspace. 

Just as the Czech detachment at Ämari, Estonia they have conducted or supported more than 60 training activities with the Air Forces of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as well as with their fellow Baltic Air Policing detachments and NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence units.

Over all more than 150 hours of flying have been used to exploit these valuable training opportunities, next to constantly ensuring a safe and secure NATO airspace over the Baltic States. 

It has been an honour for the Royal Danish Air Force to step in for our Baltic Allies once again

"Not only has this deployment provided various excellent opportunities to train and exercise with our Baltic and other multinational Allies based here" says Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Fly Baunsgaard, Commander of the Danish detachment, and adds: "Most of all it has been an honour for the Royal Danish Air Force to step in for our Baltic Allies once again."

Members of the Royal Danish Air Force detachment during one of their last mission briefings at Šiauliai Airbase, Lithuania.
Photo courtesy of Royal Danish Air Force Baltic Air Policing detachment. 


Baltic Air Policing is a regionally specific part of NATO’s peacetime Air Policing mission that safeguards the airspace over the three Baltic NATO members. Since Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia don’t have sufficient capabilities of their own, Allies take turns deploying required assets and personnel to air bases at Šiauliai, Lithuania and Ämari, Estonia, on a four-month rotational basis. The Air Forces of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia contribute to the mission with host nation support in the form of air command and control infrastructure and personnel. If an aircraft inside or approaching NATO airspace fails to properly identify itself, the deployed jets stand ready to be launched by NATO’s northern Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany. All Air Policing in European NATO airspace is overseen by NATO’s Allied Air Command, headquartered in Ramstein, Germany.
 

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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