RAMSTEIN, Germany – NATO jets from Belgium, France and Poland honed their skills during cross-border flying training practicing aerial manoeuvres and Air Policing drills.
Training sorties – just like real mission flights – allow us to demonstrate our capability with other Allies and our support of NATO’s deterrence and defence posture along the eastern flank
On February 1, two French Mirage 2000-5 took off from Šiauliai Air Base to conduct aerial drills with two Polish MiG-29 fighter aircraft in Polish airspace. The drills included aerial combat between one Polish and one French jet – so-called 1v1 manoeuvres.
A French Mirage taxies at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, where a French detachment supports NATO's Air Policing mission on the Baltic Sea shores. Archive photo by Arnaud Chamberlin.
French pilot's view of A Polish Air Force MiG-29 flying alongside another French Mirage 2000-5 during a training mission over Poland. Photo by French Air and Space Force.
French Mirage 2000-5 pilot with a Polish MiG-29 trailing at "ten" during combined training drills over Poland. Photo by French Air and Space Force.
During QRA training drills, French Mirage 2000-5 pilots practiced common tactics, techniques and procedures with Belgian F-16 aircrew. Photo by French Air and Space Force.
“NATO Allies regularly conduct such training to bring their pilots up to speed and further improve flying skills –and above all – interoperability in the air,” said Lieutenant Colonel Nicolas, the French commander of the Mirage 2000-5 detachment that flies Air Policing from the air base in Lithuania. “These 1v1 drills are often conducted in a national setting inside one’s own country. Conducting them cross-border with an Ally’s assets adds complexity to our task – and is more fun, of course,” he added.
The French aircrew increased their know-how during the training missions and learned to work with their Polish counterparts based on common NATO tactics, techniques and procedures.
On February 5, French Mirage aircrew had another opportunity to conduct combined training drills, this time with their Belgian colleagues, who lead the 64th rotation of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission with their F-16s also at Šiauliai. This time the training involved quick reaction alert (QRA) manoeuvres practicing how to intercept, identify and hand-over an aircraft of interest.
“We launch our jets regularly for such QRA training missions, and this is an excellent way for our aircrew to gain experience also in working with colleagues from other Allied air forces,” said Lieutenant Colonel Nicolas. “Training sorties – just like real mission flights – allow us to demonstrate our capability to operate together with other Allies in the region and to show our presence in support of NATO’s deterrence and defence posture along the eastern flank,” he concluded.