At Siauliai the Spanish Air Force took the Key to the Baltic airspace from the leaving Belgian Air Force detachment. The Spanish F-18 fighter jets will be joined by Royal Air Force Typhoon fighters. Both Allies ar supporting NATO’s defensive peacetime mission in the region for the seventh and the sixth times, respectively.
I pay respect to the Belgian Air Force for the efforts to keep the Baltic airspace safe at this time that is so tense to all of us
The Lithuanian hosts expressed their appreciation to the Belgian Air Force for their lead role in the mission. The Belgian Air Force deployed their F-16 fighter aircraft in September 2019 and completed two busy rotation back-to-back. “I pay respect on behalf of Lithuania to the Belgian Air Force for the efforts to keep the Baltic airspace safe at this time that is so tense to all of us,” said the Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force, Colonel Dainius Guzas during the ceremony.
At Ämari, French Mirage 2000-5 aircraft replaced the Polish Air Force F-16 aircraft in augmenting the Baltic Air Policing mission. While Poland has accomplished their ninth rotation which began this January, the French Air Force returns to Ämari after their last deployment here in 2018 and start their eighth four-month rotation. The Chief of the Estonian Air Force, Colonel Rauno Sirk thanked the Polish detachment for “doing an excellent job with more than 100 training flights and many alert scrambles”.
The ceremonies took place in compliance with national precautions taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the Host Nations. Together, the hosts and deployed detachments are applying preventative measures and ensuring collectively the vital mission continues: Allies showcasing solidarity and safeguarding NATO airspace including in challenging times.