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Baltic Air Policing
Two French Mirage 2000s during a Baltic Air Policing deployment in 2010
Two French Mirage 2000s during a Baltic Air Policing deployment in 2010
Date30 March 2004 - present
LocationLithuania, Latvia and Estonia
Result Ongoing

The Baltic air-policing mission is a NATO air defence Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) in order to guard the airspace over the three Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Mission[edit | edit source]

The three Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Within the Alliance, preserving airspace integrity is conducted as a collective task jointly and collectively using fighter aircraft for Air Policing. Air Policing is a purely defensive mission. It did not take the events of September 11, 2001 to make the public aware of the fundamental importance of Air Policing and the requirement to have air defence assets available at short notice ensuring safety and security of national and NATO airspace.[citation needed] Since the 1970s, NATO has established a comprehensive system of air surveillance and airspace management means, as well as Quick Reaction Alert assets for intercepts (QRA(I)) provided by its member nations. By means of radar sites, remote data transmission, control and reporting centres (CRCs) and Combined Air Operation Centres (CAOCs) the Alliance ensures constant surveillance and control of its assigned airspace 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. NATO exploits these facilities to react within seconds to air traffic incidents in the Allies’ airspace. This structure of weapon systems, control centres and procedures is referred to as the NATO Integrated Air Defence System (NATINADS). NATINADS has been and remains one cornerstone of Alliance solidarity and cohesion. The responsible Allied Air Headquarters are at Izmir, Turkey and Ramstein, Germany. The dividing line are the Alps. The Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein’s air area of responsibility is divided in two Air Policing Areas (APAs):

  • APA 1 is controlled by the Combined Air Operation Centre (CAOC) Finderup, Denmark;
  • APA 2 is controlled by the CAOC in Uedem, Germany.

NATO members without their own Air Policing assets are assisted by other NATO members. Luxembourg is covered by interceptors from Belgium, while Slovenia and Albania by Italian aircraft.[1]
Since March 2004, when the Baltic States joined NATO, the 24/7 task to police the airspace of the Baltic States was conducted on three-month rotation from Lithuania's First Air Base in Zokniai/Šiauliai International Airport, near the northern city of Šiauliai. Starting with the Turkish deployment, rotations changed to a four-month basis. Usual deployments consist of four fighter aircraft with between 50 and 100 support personnel. To ensure Air Policing performance is conducted in a safe and professional way, adequate training was and still is required, as NATO member nations deploy their assets to Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, on a rotational basis. To standardize training across nations, Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein introduced a series of training events called Baltic Region Training Events (BRTEs) to capitalize on experienced aircrews deployed to Šiauliai and to offer superior training for Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian air forces and control facilities.[2] The three host nations contributed €2.2 million in 2011 to cover the deployment expenses and are supposed to contribute €3.5 million yearly by 2015. In 2012 the Alliance allocated €7 million for Šiauliai airfield modernisation from the Security Investment Programme.[3]

Hungary will perform the mission for the first time in 2015,[4] also Italy plans to carry out the mission in January–April 2015,[5] 14 members participated in Baltic Air Policing so far.

In 2013, the Baltic patrol was called in when the Swedish Air Force was unable to respond to a simulated attack by Russian bombers against Stockholm.[6][7]

Deployments[edit | edit source]

Starting Date[8] Country Air Force Aircraft Reference
30 March 2004  Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component F-16AM Fighting Falcon [9]
1 July 2004  Denmark Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcon [10]
30 October 2004  United Kingdom  Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado F.3 [11]
1 January 2005  Norway Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcon [12]
30 March 2005  Netherlands Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcon [13]
30 June 2005  Germany Luftwaffe F-4F Phantom II [14]
12 October 2005 United States  United States Air Force F-16CJ Fighting Falcon [15]
1 January 2006  Poland  Polish Air Force MiG-29A [16]
31 March 2006  Turkey Turkish Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon [17]
1 August 2006  Spain Spanish Air Force Mirage F1M [17][18]
1 December 2006  Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component F-16AM Fighting Falcon
1 April 2007  France French Air Force Mirage 2000C [19]
1 August 2007  Romania Stema Statului Major al Fortelor Aeriene.jpg Romanian Air Force MiG-21 LanceR 'C' [20]
1 November 2007  Portugal Portuguese Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcon [21][22]
16 December 2007  Norway Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcon [23]
15 March 2008  Poland  Polish Air Force MiG-29A [24]
30 June 2008  Germany Luftwaffe F-4F Phantom II
30 September 2008 United States  United States Air Force F-15C Eagle [25]
2 January 2009  Denmark Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcon
1 May 2009  Czech Republic Czech Air Force JAS-39C Gripen [26]
1 September 2009  Germany Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoon [27]
3 November 2009  Germany Luftwaffe F-4F Phantom II [27]
4 January 2010  France French Air Force Mirage 2000C [28]
1 May 2010  Poland  Polish Air Force MiG-29A [29]
1 September 2010 United States  United States Air Force F-15C Eagle [30]
5 January 2011  Germany Luftwaffe F-4F Phantom II [31]
28 April 2011  France French Air Force Mirage 2000C [32]
2 September 2011  Denmark Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcon [33]
4 January 2012  Germany Luftwaffe F-4F Phantom II [34]
26 April 2012  Poland  Polish Air Force MiG-29A [35]
1 September 2012  Czech Republic Czech Air Force JAS-39C Gripen [36]
3 January 2013  Denmark Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcon [37]
30 April 2013  France French Air Force Mirage F1CR [38]
3 September 2013  Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component F-16AM Fighting Falcon [39][40][41]

Accidents[edit | edit source]

  • 30 August 2011 a French Mirage collided with Lithuanian trainer jet L-39, which dived into a marsh. Both pilots ejected.[42]
  • 29 April 2013 a Danish F-16 landed in Tallinn after it suffered a bird strike, which caused minor engine damage.[43]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "L'A.M. assicura lo spazio aereo albanese" (in Italian). http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/News/Pagine/AM_assicura_spazio_aereo_albanese_170709.aspx. Retrieved 20 September 2011. "L’Aeronautica Militare assicura già dal 2007, con i propri velivoli, l’"Air Policing" dello spazio aereo sloveno." 
  2. Baltic Region Training Event.
  3. A Mission in the Interest of the Whole Alliance. PISM Bulletin No 88 (421), September 21, 2012
  4. Hungary will join NATO's Air Policing mission in Baltics.
  5. Italy’s Typhoon fighter jets secure airspace of Iceland. 10 June 2013
  6. Benitez, Jorge (22 April 2013). "Russian jets practiced attacks on Sweden". NATO Source. Atlantic Council. http://www.acus.org/natosource/russian-jets-practiced-attacks-sweden. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  7. "NATO jets from Lithuania helped shadow Russian planes near Sweden". The Lithuania Tribune. The Lithuania Tribune. 22 April 2013. http://www.lithuaniatribune.com/34840/nato-jets-from-lithuania-helped-shadow-russian-planes-near-sweden-201334840/. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  8. NATO Air - policing mission, Lithuanian Armed Forces
  9. Belgium Baltic Air Policing
  10. Air-police functions in the Baltic States to be taken over by Danish personnel
  11. Hansard, 14/12/04
  12. Norwegian Ministry of Defence:Norwegian fighter aircraft on a temporary NATO mission in the baltic
  13. Air policing mission in the Baltic States to be taken over by Dutch troops
  14. Germans takes over Baltic NATO mission
  15. 23rd EFS protects Baltic skies
  16. Zakończenie misji AIR POLICING przez Siły Powietrzne RP. mon.gov.pl
  17. 17.0 17.1 Turkish Military Personnel to Take Over Execution of NATO Air Policing Mission Over the Baltic States.
  18. Spain to carry out NATO patrol in Baltic countries
  19. Estonian Review, Volume 17 No 13 Mar28-Apr3, 2007, p.3: French Take over Baltic Air Policing Mission
  20. Romania Performs Air Police Service In The Baltic Countries .
  21. Portuguese F-16s to defend Baltic skies
  22. A participação dos Jaguares na missão Baltics Air Policing 2007 (Portuguese Air Force 301 Squadron) (Portuguese)
  23. Oro policijos misiją Baltijos valstybėse iš portugalų perima norvegai (Lithuanian)
  24. Gazeta.pl: Prezydent podpisał postanowienie o użyciu wojska w dwóch zagranicznych operacjach (Polish)
  25. U.S. Forces begin air policing mission in Baltics
  26. Air Contingent of the Czech Republic took over the NATO Baltic Air-policing mission
  27. 27.0 27.1 German Air Force to conduct once more NATO Air Policing over Baltic States
  28. Air Baltic 2010 – France takes over
  29. Dalyvauti oro policijos misijoje atvyksta Lenkijos naikintuvai (Lithuanian)
  30. US Air contingent take over Baltic Air-policing mission
  31. Richthofengeschwader sichert baltischen Luftraum (German)
  32. Šiauliuose leisis Prancūzijos naikintuvai (Lithuanian)
  33. NATO oro policijos misiją Baltijos šalyse perims Danijos kariai (Lithuanian)
  34. Šiauliuose nusileido Vokietijos karinių oro pajėgų naikintuvai (Lithuanian)
  35. Orlik 4 na posterunku, sp.mil.pl (Polish)
  36. Czech Gripen Baltic Airspace Policing Encore
  37. Baltijos erdvėje patruliuos Danijos karinių oro pajėgų naikintuvai (Lithuanian)
  38. NATO oro policijos misijoje danus keičia Prancūzijos karinių oro pajėgų kariai (Lithuanian)
  39. Nicholas Fiorenza (17 June 2013). "Belgium To Take Over Baltic Air Policing". http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3a3e0b8697-ccea-47c6-a0ab-ab825bdca318. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  40. Belgian Air Force (2 July 2013). "Baltic Air Policing". http://www.mil.be/aircomp/news/index.asp?LAN=nl&ID=3895. Retrieved 3 August 2013.  (Dutch)
  41. AIRheads/MB (26 July 2013). "Belgian F-16s take on Baltic Air Policing". http://airheadsfly.com/2013/07/26/belgian-f-16s-baltic-air-policing-2013/. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  42. Lithuanian L-39 crashes after collision with French Mirage
  43. Danish jets make unscheduled landing after bird collision in Estonian airspace.

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