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Aug 23 2021

Gripens secure the skies above the Czech Republic and its Allies

RAMSTEIN, Germany - The Czech Republic has been a NATO ally for over 20 years, joining on March 12, 1999. Its JAS-39 Gripen fighter squadron based at Čáslav airbase protects the Czech airspace and participates in collective Air Policing missions abroad.

Working closely with Allied nations, the Czech Air Force has deployed around Europe in support of the mission. Besides safeguarding the skies over their homeland, the Czech Gripens have patrolled skies above Estonia, Lithuania, and Iceland accomplishing the NATO's core task of collective defence.

The Czech Republic stands ready to defend our nation and our allies. We have proven our commitment and support of NATO through repeated deployments under NATO

"The Czech Republic stands ready to defend our nation and our allies. We have proven our commitment and support of NATO through repeated deployments under NATO. The very first Air Policing mission was a challenge for us," says Colonel Jaroslav Míka, 21st Air Force Base Čáslav Commander and also first Czech Baltic Air Policing Commander in 2009. "We have learned a lot from that deployment and now, we share a burden with our Allies providing Air Policing outside our country every third year. Our next deployment is scheduled in Lithuania next year," he added.

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Two Czech Gripen fighter jets fly over Iceland's coast while fulfilling Air Policing duties. Photo courtesy of Czech Air Force. 

The first Air Policing mission abroad began in 2009 in Lithuania. After returning to Lithuania in 2012, Gripen fighter detachments deployed to Iceland in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and to Estonia in 2019 in support of Allied arrangements to ensure one standard of Air Policing across the Alliance.

The Czech Air Force began Quick Reaction Alerts in 1999 under the NATO Integrated Air Defence System with Russian MiG-21 fighter aircraft. These have been replaced with modern supersonic aircraft JAS-39 Gripen in 2005. The Czech Air Force also fulfils AP duties in Slovakian Air Space in a cross border agreement, while maintaining their own airspace security. With 12 single-seater Gripens at their disposal, they have full capability to fly over their own nation and protect fellow NATO Allies.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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