The U.S. fifth generation F-35s will operate with Allies at both bases, ensuring the security and sovereignty of Allied Air space over the Baltic States. Poland currently leads the Baltic Air Policing mission with their F-16s in Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, and Royal Danish Air Force F-16s have been supporting the enhanced Air Policing mission from the same base since January 28. Meanwhile, at Amari Air Base, Estonia the F-35s will integrate with the Belgian F-16s who have been there since early January.
Our ability to move aircraft anywhere at a moment's notice assures our Allies and promotes balanced defense across the eastern flank.
In the Black Sea region, Fetesti Air Base, Romania is hosting U.S. F-16s and welcoming the additional F-35s. Together the American jets and their personnel will work alongside Romanian F-16s to secure Allied skies. On the coast of Romania, Italian and German Eurofighters are already flying out of Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base working with their Romanian colleagues as they execute the enhanced Air Policing mission.
"Our forces bring advanced capabilities to confront a full spectrum of threats to our Alliance," said General Jeff Harrigian, Allied Air Command and U.S. Air Force in Europe – Air Forces Africa Commander. "Our ability to move aircraft anywhere at a moment's notice assures our Allies and promotes balanced defense across the eastern flank."
Two U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft arrive at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Feb. 24, 2022. Aircraft and crews will work closely with Allies in the Black Sea region to reinforce regional security during the current tensions caused by Russia. (Courtesy Photo from Lithuanian Air Force)
The F-35s are assigned to the 34th Fighter Squadron, which is currently operating out of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The F-35 aircraft provides unprecedented communication capabilities, command and control and lethality for the combined and joint force. This gives NATO leaders the flexibility to project power and assert Air Dominance in highly contested environments.
Since 2014, the NATO Alliance has implemented Assurance Measures with the goal to secure regional stability and assure the Allies following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. One tool in this set of measures is the concept of eAP, which demonstrates NATO's solidarity, collective resolve, and its ability to adapt and scale its defensive missions and deterrence posture in response to an evolving security situation.