The hand over take over ceremony was conducted on September 15 with the previous and incoming detachments. Lt Gen Silvano Frigerio thanked the F-35 detachment staff for their dedication and professionalism over the last four months and welcomed the incoming detachment led by Colonel Fabio De Luca.
The presence of the Task Force Air-Estonia "Baltic Eagle II" is sending an unmistakable signal about the unwavering resolve of NATO Members to consider any threat to the integrity of the airspace of one Ally as a threat to the whole Alliance, in line with the content of Article 5
"Today, as Deputy Commander of the Italian Joint Operations Headquarters, I am really pleased to say that the Italian QRA mission is truly boosting deterrence and defence capabilities in the eastern part of the NATO's Area of Responsibility," stated Lt General Silvano Frigerio. "Moreover, the presence of the Task Force Air-Estonia "Baltic Eagle II" is sending an unmistakable signal about the unwavering resolve of NATO Members to consider any threat to the integrity of the airspace of one Ally as a threat to the whole Alliance, in line with the content of Article 5," he added.
The Italian Air Force has now deployed four consecutive fighter detachments in support of NATO's Air Policing mission in the Baltic Sea region.
"Taking over F-35 fighters QRA's duties showcases Italian commitment to the Alliance and our fruitful cooperation with the Estonians here at Ämari," said Colonel Fabio De Luca, incoming Commander of the Eurofighter detachment. "Rotating our two fighter aircraft types demonstrates Italy is well prepared to operate cutting edge weapon systems in support of NATO's 24/7 mission to safeguard the skies. We are proud to be here conducting the fourth consecutive Italian deployment under NATO's Air Policing mission in the Baltics," he added.
The handover from F-35 to Eurofighter shows the Allies ability to integrate different modern aircraft NATO defensive into operations. For Allies and Partners in the Baltic Sea Region, the opportunity to cooperate with 4th and 5th generation aircraft provides vital training for aircrew and ground staff.
Italian Eurofighters will remain at Ämari until the end of November to fly Air Policing missions together with the Danish and Portuguese F-16s fighters at Šiauliai, Lithuania under the tactical control of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian control and reporting centres and the oversight of Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, Germany.