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Jul 18 2020

German fighter jets join RAF Baltic Air Policing detachment at Šiauliai Airbase, Lithuania

RAMSTEIN, Germany - On 15 July a detachment of German Air Force Eurofighter jets arrived in Lithuania to undertake combined quick reaction alert training alongside the RAF Typhoon jets already deployed there under NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. This opportunity has been arranged to enhance interoperability between Allied Air Forces, further progressing the development towards conducting binational Air Policing.  

NATO welcomes this German-British project towards increased and deepened coordination in the Air Policing arena as it demonstrates how the Allies cooperate in practical term providing security collectively to the populations.

We are really pleased to welcome our German Air Force friends here to Lithuania.

“We are really pleased to welcome our German Air Force friends here to Lithuania; to continue this cooperation is a great opportunity for learning in an operational environment.” said Wing Commander Stu Gwinnutt, Commander of the Royal Air Force detachment at Šiauliai Airbase, Lithuania. Lieutenant Colonel Andreas Beckmann, Commander of the detachment form Germany’s Tactical Fighter Wing 71 “Richthofen” describes the time ahead as “a brilliant opportunity to learn more detailed insights of how the two forces can work together”. He states: “Being part of this programme enhances our capability to achieve the steps towards the plug & fight concept, one of which is a conscious reduction in our footprint without a reduction in reaction times for operational output”.

One of the German Air Force Eurofighters from Tactical Fighter Wing 71 "Richthofen" after landing at at Šiauliai Airbase, Lithuania. 
Photo by Iain Curlett.

The ‘Plug & Fight’ concept as a force package is the smallest contingent of personnel and aircraft, with the aim of common flight operations which can quickly dock into an existing operations laydown of another Ally. 

The pilot of one of the German fighters stepping out of the cockpit at Šiauliai Airbase while ground crews are handling the aircraft. 
Photo by Iain Curlett.

The project is a high-level endeavour for both air forces that has been pushed forward at continuous progress. When German Eurofighters were deployed to Estonia from May to August 2019, they conducted several combined training flights over the Baltic region with two Royal Air Force Typhoons starting practical execution phase. Both Allies are regularly exchanging pilots between their Eurofighter/Typhoon units; the jets are manufactured by the same company but differ in many aspects from version and specifications to armament and employment.

The present combined flying and training activity with the visiting German Eurofighters is another building block towards enabling a binational Air Policing detachment in the future. When Germany will deploy to Ämari this September, a reciprocal visit will occur again by British Typhoons.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office, based on input from Royal Air Force Baltic Air Policing detachment. 

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