A Belgian Air Force Airbus A-321 with international journalists on board took off from Melsbroek Air Base in the early morning on Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020. The goal of the flight was to demonstrate what NATO Allies do collectively to safeguard their airspace and to showcase how the Allies cooperate with regional Partners Finland and Sweden.
We are proud of our professional Air Policing teams who ensure vigilance in NATO's airspace
"NATO Air Policing is a demonstration of Alliance cohesion, readiness and interoperability," said Lieutenant General Klaus Habersetzer, Commander of the Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, which plans, directs and coordinates the collective mission safeguarding the airspace north of the Alps. "We are proud of our professional teams at our control centres, in our jets and maintenance hangars who ensure vigilance in NATO's airspace and above adjacent international waters," he added.
On behalf of NATO and under the auspices of Allied Air Command at Ramstein, the two Combined Air Operations Centres at Uedem, Germany, and Torrejon, Spain, work with
more than 30 control and reporting facilities and radar stations and employ fighter aircraft which are on standby 24/7 at more than 35 air bases to ensure the Air Policing mission.
During the media flight fighter aircraft from Allies France, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Poland, and Partner Finland were launched to escort the Airbus with media on board during an Air Policing exercise and provided a snapshot of how they cooperate under the control the Combined Air Operations Centre to protect the safety and integrity of Alliance airspace.
When the Airbus landed at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania, the group of journalists visited the Belgian Air Force detachment presently leading NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission and saw two F-16 aircraft conduct a simulated alert launch going through the procedures undertaken by the aircrew within minutes to respond to a potential incident in the air.
After a ten-hour flight the Airbus landed safely at Brussel military airport. During the flight, Allies Denmark, France, the United Kingdom and two times Poland as well as NATO partner Finland conducted training intercepts demonstrating to the journalists on board the professional execution of routine procedures to safeguard the skies in the region.