Second Participation of Spanish Air Force in NATO Baltic Air Policing.
Jan 2, 2015
With the arrival of four Eurofighter Typhoon jets at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, on 29 December 2014, the Spanish Air Force began their rotation of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing, and immediately started their familiarization flights over the Baltic.
The Spanish Air Force took over the augmenting role for NATO’s Baltic Air Policing from the German Air Force during a handover-takeover ceremony on 2 January 2015. This 37th rotation of the mission is led by Italy flying Eurofighters out of Siauliai, Lithuania, and augmented there by Polish MiG-29 fighters. Belgium is another augmenting nation with F-16 fighters temporarily stationed at Malbork, Poland.
"Spain is strongly committed to Alliance solidarity,” said the Spanish Detachment Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Enrique Fernández Ambel. "With this mission we contribute to NATO Air Policing, sharing the security responsibilities of the Baltic nations. We are ready to operate on both the Southern and the Northern borders of the Alliance”
The Spanish Detachment Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Enrique Fernández Ambel (right), shakes hands with the Detachment Chief of Operations, Major Eladio Daniel Leal Mozo (left with helmet) upon touching down at Ämari Air Base with his Eurofighter.
After 2006 this is the second time, the Spanish Air Force participates in this NATO mission in the Baltic region. The four Spanish Eurofighter Typhoons and the bulk of the 114 pilots and support staff are normally stationed at 11th Wing at Morón de la Frontera Air Base near Seville in Spain.
In May 2014, NATO increased the number of Allied fighter aircraft conducting Baltic Air Policing in line with extensive assurance measures. The Alliance takes its responsibility to ensure safety and integrity of NATO members’ airspace very seriously – when an aircraft flies close to or enters this airspace without prior coordination or planning, both commercial and military air traffic could be placed in danger. NATO jets routinely identify, intercept, and escort such planes as a precautionary measure.
NATO’s Baltic Air Policing began in 2004 with the accession of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the Alliance. The 37th rotation will last until the end of April.