ÄMARI, Estonia – The German Eurofighter detachment augmenting NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission conducted operational training events with an Estonian Air Force M-28 transport aircraft and a German Air Force A-400m cargo aircraft.
In addition to providing a 24/7 intercept capability to safeguard the NATO airspace in the Baltic region, the German Eurofighter detachment is engaged in regular training activities to further improve aircrew proficiency and skills.
In an unidentified aircraft training scenario, an Estonian Air Force M-28 transport aircraft simulated a loss of communications with air traffic controllers. Two Eurofighters were tasked to intercept and establish a visual identification of the M-28, which due to the low speed of the transport plane was a challenge for the fast jets. The focus of participating aircrews and the air traffic controllers was on checking and applying all relevant tactics, techniques and procedures to safely execute the mission. In Air Policing mission, NATO fighter aircraft are regularly required to intercept slow movers basis which is why training missions like the one with the M-28 are valuable for all involved.
The training the German Eurofighters executed with a German A-400M cargo aircraft from 62 Air Transport Wing at Wunstorf, Germany was just as important from an enabling perspective. The A-400M has recently been upgraded with an air-to-air refueling capability, and three Eurofighters from the German Baltic Air Policing detachment had the first-ever opportunity to receive fuel in an operational scenario. At a speed of some 500 km/h the Eurofighter pilots had to insert the 15-cm wide refuelling nozzle into the centre of the 50 cm wide refuelling basket. Both aircraft have to maintain a constant 20-metre distance from one another during the refuelling time; 200 kg of fuel are pumped into the jet per minute to extend its flying time for approximately 20 minute. The successful training mission showcased that the A-400M can ensure air-to-air refuelling for the Eurofighters during the NATO mission in the Baltic region.
Find more photos of the events here
Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office base on information provided by German Air Force detachment