RAMSTEIN, Germany – The US F-16s deployed to Łask Air Base, Poland have returned to base at Spangdahlem, Germany, following their time safeguarding Allied air space under enhanced Air Policing.
This long-planned deployment brought together American and Polish service members to cooperate under the banner of NATO Air Policing in the Baltic Sea region for a unified goal of securing the skies, enhancing multinational relationships and improving interoperability between Allies.
We are in Łask, Poland to execute enhanced Air Policing as part of a larger NATO effort to help safeguard the allied airspace in this region
"We are in Łask, Poland to execute enhanced Air Policing as part of a larger NATO effort to help safeguard the Allied airspace in this region," said Lieutenant Colonel Parks, US F-16 Detachment Commander in Łask Air Base, Poland. "We have aircraft sitting alert and as soon as we receive a launch notice we get our aircraft airborne as a first responder and we are looking to identify and intercept any aircraft that is near NATO air space," he added.
Polish and US Joint Terminal Attack Controllers working with the USAF F-16 detachment during their deployment practicing ground-air cooperation. Photo courtesy of the USAF.
USAF F-16 fighter departing Łask Air Base, Poland on a mission over the Baltic Sea region helping safeguard Allied airspace. Photo courtesy of the USAF.
Joint training and exercises lead to greater understanding each other's capabilities and build interoperability within the Alliance. This further enables Allied efforts to counter military aggression and coercion by sharing responsibilities for common defence objectives.
We are Allies and the more training we have together, the better we are at our missions. We are always happy to host the US and perform flying missions with each other
"It is important that we show we can cooperate together and work together, and perform missions together," said Lieutenant Colonel Krzysztof Duda, Polish F-16 Squadron Commander. "We are Allies and the more training we have together, the better we are at our missions. We are always happy to host the US and perform flying missions with each other," he added.
Enhanced Air Policing is part of NATO's Assurance Measures introduced in 2014, after Russia's illegal and illegitimate annexation of the Crimean peninsula. The Alliance implemented these Assurance Measures with the goal to demonstrate the collective resolve of Allies, demonstrate the defensive nature of NATO and deter Russia from aggression or the threat of aggression against NATO Allies. They are flexible and scalable in response to fluctuations in the security situation facing the Alliance and send a strong, unambiguous message to the public.