Mr Turner, the permanent Chairman of the Defence Policy and Planning Committee, the main defence advisory body of the NATO Council, was accompanied by a delegation of Defence Advisors. The Italian Detachment Commander, Colonel Fabio De Luca, welcomed the visitors emphasising
the importance of the Air Policing mission in the Baltic region and highlighting the widespread operational capabilities of the Eurofighter aircraft, which currently provides an effective alert service on the eastern flank of the Alliance.
Great gratitude and admiration for the professionalism and courage with which you perform this critical mission in defence of the Alliance and this region
"Great gratitude and admiration for the professionalism and courage with which you perform this critical mission in defence of the Alliance and this region," said Patrick Turner, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning.
According to the Assistant Secretary General, the extraordinary professionalism of the men and women of the Italian Air Task Force in carrying out the delicate mission in the Baltic region the skies in the Baltic region, underlines its importance and high profile.
Safeguarding the integrity of Alliance members' sovereign airspace is a permanent peacetime task contributing to NATO's collective defence and provides support to civilian aircraft in distress. When they receive a scramble order from NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, the Italian Eurofighters are ready to take 24/7; they launch within minutes, heading towards an unidentified aircraft to conduct routine response measures.
Since May 2021, Italy's contribution to NATO's Baltic Air Policing at Ämari Air Base, called "Baltic Eagle II" underscores again the Italian Air Force's commitment to NATO. Italian Air Force aircraft have served at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, and Ämari Air Base constantly since
2020. Additionally Italy was the first nation to deploy F-35s for NATO's Baltic Air Policing. This is the second time Italian Air Force aircraft are serving in Estonia, with F-35, at first, and Eurofighter at present. It is a demonstration of the Allies' capability to deploy and integrate different aircraft types to safeguard and defend the airspace in a seamless manner.