In front of senior political and military representatives from Estonia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and NATO, the Royal Air Force handed over the mission to their successors from the Czech Air Force during an official ceremony on September 2 at Ämari Air Base, Estonia.
We have demonstrated NATO’s interoperability amongst our forces and shown that we are united and resolute to protect all our Allies.
“This Czech Air Force detachment is the 17th consecutive deployment Estonia hosted since 2014, when the superb air base of Ämari was activated as an additional NATO base in the Baltic region,” said NATO representative, Polish Air Force Brigadier General Slavomir Zakowski, deputy commander Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, Germany. “We have demonstrated NATO’s interoperability amongst our forces and shown that we are united and resolute to protect all our Allies,” he added.
Mr Jüri Luik, Estonian Minister of Defence commended NATO and the Allies for launching the Air Policing mission “from the moment of the accession of the three Baltic States.” He then thanked the Royal Air Force detachment for “their excellent service safeguarding the sovereignty of the NATO airspace over the Baltic States”and welcomed the Czech detachment “who joined the ranks of Allied nations operating Baltic Air Policing from Ämari.”
“It is already third time for the Czech Republic to contribute to the NATO mission in the Baltic States,” said the Czech Minister of Defence, Mr Lubomir Metnar, “However, it is the first time to secure the air space from Estonia. For us, this mission is very important: it is not only an obligation of NATO membership, but also a wish to contribute to the protection of NATO's eastern border and to face the possible threats beyond its borders,“ he added.
Air Marshal Gerry Mayhew, Royal Air Force Deputy Commander Operations, thanked the Air Base team for their smooth cooperation and hospitality, and promised that the Royal Air Force would definitely return to Ämari.
NATO and the Allies launched the Air Policing mission from the moment of the accession of the three Baltic States
Allied Air Command is responsible for NATO’s Air Policing mission, a peacetime mission safeguarding the Allies’ airspace. Planning, direction and task coordination for the mission is provided by its two Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs) at Uedem and Torrejon. CAOC Uedem is regionally responsible for Baltic Air Policing.
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