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Feb 27 2024

German jets land in Latvia for NATO enhanced Air Policing mission

LIELVARDE, Latvia - Five German Air Force Eurofighter jets touched down at Lielvarde Air Base in Latvia on February 26, 2024 where they will support NATO’s enhanced Air Policing for the Baltic States in the coming months.  

For the first time, NATO is using Lielvarde for the Baltic Air Policing mission and Germany will provide the interceptors for the mission

"We are looking forward to this mission; for the first time, NATO is using Lielvarde for the Baltic Air Policing mission and we will provide the interceptors for the mission,” said Lieutenant Colonel Swen Jacob, German detachment commander.

The first German Eurofighter touching down at Lielvarde in the evening of February 26 to prepare for augmenting NATO's enhanced Air Policing mission in the Baltic region. Photo by Florian Herrmann.

German Eurofighter taxiing to position at Lielvarde Air Base. For the coming months, five of these jets join NATO's enhanced Air Policing mission. Photo by Florian Herrmann.

The first flight of three German Eurofighters safely landed at their new temporary operating base in Latvia. Photo by Florian Herrmann.

Upon landing, ground handling crews pushed the German Eurofighters into temporary shelters at Lielvarde Air Base. Photo by Florian Herrmann.

“Now that the jets have arrived, our detachment is ready for the final inspection of the set-up at Lielvarde by NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) from Uedem. From Friday on, we will be available for mission execution. Closely integrated with the Host Nation Latvia, our Belgian and French colleagues deployed in Lithuania and the air controllers at the CAOC and the regional Control and Reporting Centres, we will demonstrate NATO’s commitment to collective deterrence and defence,” he added. 

“Together with Latvia’s outstanding supportive team at Lielvarde, and by contributions from Estonia, the members of an advance party of our German Air Force have prepared the base for the arrival of the jets, in harsh Baltic winter conditions – it was a truly multinational build-up,” explained Lieutenant Colonel Jacob.

Due to runway works at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, the NATO mission temporarily moves to Latvia and from March 1 on, the German Eurofighters will be ready to take off to safeguard the skies in the Baltic Sea region. They will augment NATO’s Air Policing capability Belgian F-16s and French Mirage 2000-5s provide at Šiauliai, Lithuania.

Besides the Eurofighters, the German contribution to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing includes a deployable Control and Reporting Centre that has been set up at Ämari, Estonia. This unit is integrated into the Air Surveillance and Control network in the region.

Since Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the Alliance – NATO Allies have collectively ensure the territorial integrity of the Baltic member Nations. For two decades, the Baltic Air Policing mission and all Allies contributing to that mission have sent a strong message of NATO commitment, cohesion and solidarity.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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