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Aug 12 2019

Belgian Air Force to lead incoming NATO Baltic Air Policing nations

RAMSTEIN, Germany –The Allies forming the 51st rotation of the Baltic Air Policing mission - lead Nation Belgium and augmenting nations Denmark and the Czech Republic - are finalising preparations to deploy to Lithuania and Estonia at the end of the month. The incoming Allies will take over the mission in early September replacing outgoing nations Hungary, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The Belgian Air Force is bringing F-16 (below) to Siauliai, Lithuania, to lead NATO Baltic Air Policing; the Royal Danish Air Force (top right) augments the misison also at Siauliai. The Czech Air Force will be flying their JAS-39 Gripen out of Amari, Estonia as another augmenting nation. (Photos clockwise from top by Martin Haleš, Soeren Augustesen, and Daniel Orban)

Siauliai, the Belgian Air Force will lead the peacetime mission of safeguarding the airspace on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Belgium was the first Ally to deploy F-16 fighter jets under NATO aegis for the mission in the spring of 2004; the upcoming deployment is the ninth time Belgian jets participate in the Baltic Air Policing mission including five deployments to Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania.

Denmark will be augmenting the mission at Šiauliai with their F-16 jets. The Danish Air Force has also been a long-standing support of the Baltic Air Policing mission deploying to the region for the seventh time.

The second augmenting nation will be the Czech Republic flying their JAS-39 fighter jets out of Ämari Air Base, Estonia. The Czech Air Force was the 14th Ally to join the mission; leading Baltic Air Policing in 2009 and 2012 out of Šiauliai the detachment is slated to augment the mission during their third contribution.

 Since 2004 Allies have taken turns under peacetime Baltic Air Policing deploying their fighter assets to safeguard the airspace over Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and the adjacent Baltic Sea. This brought the same level of airspace security to the region that NATO has ensured for all its Allies across binding NATO Allies together to protect each other, setting a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance. 

The two additional detachments deployed to the region in the next four months demonstrate collective resolve and deter any threat against NATO Allies.  They allow Allied Air Command, via its Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, to employ assets flexibly providing an Air Policing capability to safeguard NATO airspace in the Baltic Region.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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