Polish Air Force F-16s working alongside Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-35s, Royal Danish Air Force F-16s and the United States Air Force (USAF) F-15s are patrolling the skies over Poland ensuring the integrity of Allied airspace. Simultaneously, Romanian Air Force MiG-21s and F-16s, Italian Eurofighters and USAF F-16s have set up similar missions in Romania in a joint effort to increase the readiness and responsiveness of Allied Air Forces in a time of heightened tension.
The reinforcement of the Air Policing detachments and the multinational execution of airborne patrols ensures our aircrew can provide robust collective defence and deliver constant vigilance across NATO airspace.
"As part of the NATO Air Policing system Allied fighters are maintained at a high state of readiness and are ready to react to incidents 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," said Lieutenant General Pascal Delerce, Deputy Commander Allied Air Command. "The reinforcement of the Air Policing detachments and the multinational execution of airborne patrols ensures our aircrew can provide robust collective defence and deliver constant vigilance across NATO airspace."
Archived photo of a Polish F-16 used in Baltic Air Policing from Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania. Photo courtesy of Polish Air Force.
The Allied fighters are supported by key air enablers, which include NATO E-3A Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft to give enhanced situational awareness and increase air safety. Additionally, USAF KC-135 and a MMU A330 MRTT air-to-air refuelling aircraft have been launched increasing the reach and endurance of Allied air power.
Allied aircraft are controlled by the Combined Air Operations Centres in Uedem, Germany for Northern Europe and Torrejon, Spain for Southern Europe. These authorities coordinate directly with Civilian Air Traffic Control ensuring de-confliction and safety in a crowded European airspace.
NATO Allies continually assess the requirement for Air Policing to ensure it is proportionate to the perceived threat. This increase to the Air Policing posture will help better protect Allied airspace in the wake of the Russian incursion into Ukraine. NATO's essential and enduring aim is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members. NATO is a defensive Alliance and the enhanced Air Policing mission provides a flexible and scalable in response to fluctuations in the security situation.