Baltic Air Policing

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Baltic Air Policing
Russian SU-27 Flanker with RAF Typhoon MOD 45157730.jpg
Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon (bottom) escorts Russian Air Force Su-27 Flanker (top) over the Baltic in June 2014
Location
Date30 March 2004 – present
Executed byNATO
OutcomeOngoing

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 of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.[1]

Mission[edit]

Ämari and Zokniai air bases in the Baltic states.

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. Since the 1970s, NATO has established a comprehensive system of air surveillance and airspace management means, as well as Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) 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 Operations 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 is the Alps. The Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein’s air area of responsibility is divided in two Air Policing Areas (APAs):

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 are covered by Italian and Greek aircraft.[3]

Since March 2004, when the Baltic States joined NATO, the 24/7 task of policing the airspace of the Baltic States was conducted on a three-month rotation from Lithuania's First Air Force Base in Zokniai/Šiauliai International Airport, near the northern city of Šiauliai, and starting 2014 at the Ämari Air Base in Harju County, Estonia. 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 formerly called Baltic Region Training Events, now referred to as Ramstein Alloy [2] to capitalize on experienced aircrews deployed to Šiauliai and to offer superior training for Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian air forces and control facilities.[4] 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.[5]

Two French Mirage 2000s during a Baltic Air Policing deployment in 2010

Hungary performed the mission for the first time in 2015,[6] also Italy carried out the mission in January–April 2015,[7] with 14 members having 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.[8]

During the 2014 Crimean crisis, the U.S. Air Force deployed six F-15C Eagle fighter jets from US-run Lakenheath air base in eastern England to the Lithuanian Air Force Base near Šiauliai.[9][10] These aircraft will augment the present mission comprising four U.S. F-15C Eagle aircraft. The U.S. heightened its NATO presence to increase the strength of the Baltic Air Policing mission. Another two U.S. KC-135 aerial refuelling aircraft brought aircraft service personnel.[11] In May 2014, NATO established its second air base in Estonia's Ämari near Tallinn, beginning with a Danish deployment.[12] Additionally in May 2014, Polish Air Force units at Malbork Air Base were reinforced by the French Air Force [13][14]

According to a former staff of the National Defence University of Finland the Baltic air bases are untenable in a war scenario as they lack hardened aircraft shelters which makes them vulnerable to attack.[15] Also Russia operates long-range SAMs in Kaliningrad, Pskov and Leningrad Oblast which would severely hamper or stop air operations from the area.[15]

Deployments[edit]

LT-LV-EE Baltic Air Policing medal bar
Starting date[16] Country Air force Aircraft Based in Reference
30 March 2004  Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component Roundel of Belgium.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [17][18]
1 July 2004  Denmark Flag of Denmark (state).svg Royal Danish Air Force Roundel of Denmark.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [19]
30 October 2004  United Kingdom  Royal Air Force RAF roundel.svg 4 x Panavia Tornado F.3 Šiauliai, Lithuania [20][21]
1 January 2005  Norway Flag of Norway, state.svg Royal Norwegian Air Force Roundel of Norway.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [22]
30 March 2005  Netherlands Flag of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.svg Royal Netherlands Air Force Roundel of the Netherlands.svg 4x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [23]
30 June 2005  Germany Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 4 x F-4F Phantom II Šiauliai, Lithuania [24]
12 October 2005  United States  United States Air Force Roundel of the USAF.svg 4 x F-16CJ Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [25]
1 January 2006  Poland  Polish Air Force Roundel of Poland.svg 4 x MiG-29A Šiauliai, Lithuania [26]
31 March 2006  Turkey Flag of Turkish Air Force Command.svg Turkish Air Force Roundel of Turkey.svg 4 x F-16C Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [27]
1 August 2006  Spain Emblem of the Spanish Air Force.svg Spanish Air Force Roundel of Spain.svg 3 x Mirage F1M Šiauliai, Lithuania [27][28]
1 December 2006  Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component Roundel of Belgium.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [29]
1 April 2007  France Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg French Air Force Roundel of France.svg 4 x Mirage 2000C Šiauliai, Lithuania [30]
1 August 2007  Romania Stema Statului Major al Fortelor Aeriene.jpg Romanian Air Force Roundel of Romania.svg MiG-21 Lancer 'C' Šiauliai, Lithuania [31]
1 November 2007  Portugal Roundel of Portugal.svg Portuguese Air Force Roundel of Portugal.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [32][33]
16 December 2007  Norway Flag of Norway, state.svg Royal Norwegian Air Force Roundel of Norway.svg F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [34]
15 March 2008  Poland  Polish Air Force Roundel of Poland.svg 4 x MiG-29A Šiauliai, Lithuania [35]
30 June 2008  Germany Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 4 x F-4F Phantom II Šiauliai, Lithuania [36]
30 September 2008  United States  United States Air Force Roundel of the USAF.svg 4 x F-15C Eagle Šiauliai, Lithuania [37]
2 January 2009  Denmark Flag of Denmark (state).svg Royal Danish Air Force Roundel of Denmark.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [38]
1 May 2009  Czech Republic Emblem of Czech Air Force.svg Czech Air Force Roundel of the Czech Republic.svg 4 x JAS 39C Gripen Šiauliai, Lithuania [39]
1 September 2009  Germany Bundeswehrkreuz (Iron Cross) German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Šiauliai, Lithuania [40]
3 November 2009  Germany Bundeswehrkreuz (Iron Cross) German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 4 x F-4F Phantom II Šiauliai, Lithuania [41]
4 January 2010  France Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg French Air Force Roundel of France.svg 4 x Mirage 2000C Šiauliai, Lithuania [42]
1 May 2010  Poland  Polish Air Force Roundel of Poland.svg 4 x MiG-29A Šiauliai, Lithuania [43]
1 September 2010  United States  United States Air Force Roundel of the USAF.svg 4 x F-15C Eagle Šiauliai, Lithuania [44]
5 January 2011  Germany Bundeswehrkreuz (Iron Cross) German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 6 x F-4F Phantom II Šiauliai, Lithuania [45]
28 April 2011  France Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg French Air Force Roundel of France.svg 4 x Mirage 2000C Šiauliai, Lithuania [46][47]
2 September 2011  Denmark Flag of Denmark (state).svg Royal Danish Air Force Roundel of Denmark.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [48][49]
4 January 2012  Germany Bundeswehrkreuz (Iron Cross) German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 6 x F-4F Phantom II Šiauliai, Lithuania [50][51]
26 April 2012  Poland  Polish Air Force Roundel of Poland.svg 4 x MiG-29A Šiauliai, Lithuania [52]
1 September 2012  Czech Republic Emblem of Czech Air Force.svg Czech Air Force Roundel of the Czech Republic.svg 4 x JAS 39C Gripen Šiauliai, Lithuania [53]
3 January 2013  Denmark Flag of Denmark (state).svg Royal Danish Air Force Roundel of Denmark.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [54]
30 April 2013  France Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg French Air Force Roundel of France.svg 4 x Mirage F1CR Šiauliai, Lithuania [55][56]
3 September 2013  Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component Roundel of Belgium.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [57][58][59]
3 January 2014  United States  United States Air Force Roundel of the USAF.svg 4 x F-15C Eagle Šiauliai, Lithuania [60]
1 May 2014  Poland  Polish Air Force Roundel of Poland.svg 4 x MiG-29A Šiauliai, Lithuania [61]
 United Kingdom  Royal Air Force RAF roundel.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Šiauliai, Lithuania [61]
 Denmark Flag of Denmark (state).svg Royal Danish Air Force Roundel of Denmark.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Ämari, Estonia. [61]
 France Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg French Air Force Roundel of France.svg 4 x Dassault Rafale Malbork, Poland. [61]
1 September 2014  Portugal Portuguese Air Force Roundel of Portugal.svg 6 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [62]
 Canada Royal Canadian Air Force Roundel of Canada.svg 4 x CF-188 Hornet Šiauliai, Lithuania [62]
 Germany Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg Eurofighter Typhoon Ämari, Estonia [62]
 Netherlands Flag of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.svg Royal Netherlands Air Force Roundel of the Netherlands.svg F-16AM Fighting Falcon Malbork, Poland [62]
1 January 2015  Italy Italian Air Force LV Italian Air Force roundel color.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Šiauliai, Lithuania [63]
2 January 2015  Spain Emblem of the Spanish Air Force.svg Spanish Air Force Roundel of Spain.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Ämari, Estonia [64]
5 January 2015  Poland  Polish Air Force Roundel of Poland.svg 4 x MiG-29A Šiauliai, Lithuania [63]
7 January 2015  Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component Roundel of Belgium.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Malbork, Poland [65]
1 May 2015  Norway Royal Norwegian Air Force Roundel of Norway.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [66]
 Italy Italian Air Force LV Italian Air Force roundel color.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Šiauliai, Lithuania [66][67]
 United Kingdom  Royal Air Force RAF roundel.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Ämari, Estonia [66]
 Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component Roundel of Belgium.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Malbork, Poland [66]
25 August 2015  Germany Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Ämari, Estonia [68]
31 August 2015  Hungary Hungarian Air Force emblem Hungarian Air Force Roundel of Hungary 4 x JAS 39C Gripen Šiauliai, Lithuania [69]
7 January 2016  Spain Emblem of the Spanish Air Force.svg Spanish Air Force Roundel of Spain.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Šiauliai, Lithuania [70]
 Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component Roundel of Belgium.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Ämari, Estonia [70]
28 April 2016  United Kingdom  Royal Air Force RAF roundel.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Ämari, Estonia [71]
4 May 2016  Portugal Portuguese Air Force Roundel of Portugal.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [72]
31 August 2016  France Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg French Air Force Roundel of France.svg 4 x Mirage 2000-5F Šiauliai, Lithuania [73]
 Germany Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Ämari, Estonia [74]
5 January 2017  Netherlands Flag of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.svg Royal Netherlands Air Force Roundel of the Netherlands.svg|4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [75]
 Germany Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Ämari, Estonia [76]
2 May 2017  Poland  Polish Air Force Roundel of Poland.svg 4 x F-16C Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [77]
3 May 2017  Spain Emblem of the Spanish Air Force.svg Spanish Air Force Roundel of Spain.svg 5 x EF-18 Hornet Ämari, Estonia [78]
30 August 2017  United States  United States Air Force Roundel of the USAF.svg 4 x F-15C Eagle Šiauliai, Lithuania [79]
5 September 2017  Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component Roundel of Belgium.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Ämari, Estonia [80]
8 January 2018  Denmark Flag of Denmark (state).svg Royal Danish Air Force Roundel of Denmark.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [81]
10 January 2018  Italy Italian Air Force LV Italian Air Force roundel color.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Ämari, Estonia [82]
2 May 2018  Portugal Portuguese Air Force Roundel of Portugal.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [83]
 Spain Emblem of the Spanish Air Force.svg Spanish Air Force Roundel of Spain.svg 6 x Eurofighter Typhoon Šiauliai, Lithuania [83]
3 May 2018  France Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg French Air Force Roundel of France.svg 4 x Mirage 2000-5F Ämari, Estonia [84]
30 August 2018  Germany Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Ämari, Estonia [85]
31 August 2018  Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component Roundel of Belgium.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [86]
3 January 2019  Poland  Polish Air Force Roundel of Poland.svg 4 x F-16C Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [87][88]
1 May 2019  Hungary Hungarian Air Force emblem Hungarian Air Force Roundel of Hungary 4 x JAS 39C Gripen Šiauliai, Lithuania [89]
 Spain Emblem of the Spanish Air Force.svg Spanish Air Force Roundel of Spain.svg 5 x EF-18 Hornet Šiauliai, Lithuania [89]
 United Kingdom  Royal Air Force RAF roundel.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Ämari, Estonia [89]
3 September 2019  Belgium Belgium Belgian Air Component Roundel of Belgium.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [90][91]
 Denmark Flag of Denmark (state).svg Royal Danish Air Force Roundel of Denmark.svg 4 x F-16AM Fighting Falcon Šiauliai, Lithuania [90][92]
 Czech Republic Emblem of Czech Air Force.svg Czech Air Force Roundel of the Czech Republic.svg 4 x JAS 39C Gripen Ämari, Estonia [90][93]
2 January 2020  Poland  Polish Air Force Roundel of Poland.svg 4 x F-16C Fighting Falcon Ämari, Estonia [94][95]
30 April 2020  France Logo of the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air).svg French Air Force Roundel of France.svg 4 x Mirage 2000-5F Ämari, Estonia [96][97]
1 May 2020  United Kingdom  Royal Air Force RAF roundel.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Šiauliai, Lithuania [98][99]
 Spain Emblem of the Spanish Air Force.svg Spanish Air Force Roundel of Spain.svg 6 x EF-18 Hornet Šiauliai, Lithuania [100][101]
15 July 2020  Germany Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg Eurofighter Typhoons Šiauliai, Lithuania [102]
31 August 2020  Germany Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg German Air Force Roundel of Germany – Type 1 – Border.svg 6 x Eurofighter Typhoons Ämari, Estonia [103][104]
4 September 2020  Italy LV Italian Air Force roundel color.svg Italian Air Force LV Italian Air Force roundel color.svg 4 x Eurofighter Typhoon Šiauliai, Lithuania [105][106]

Accidents[edit]

  • 30 August 2011 – A French Mirage collided with Lithuanian trainer jet L-39, which crashed into a marsh. Both pilots ejected.[107]
  • 29 April 2013 – A Danish F-16 landed in Tallinn after it suffered a bird strike, which caused minor engine damage.[108]
  • 9 October 2015 – A German Eurofighter's right external tank dropped "while taxiing to the start position" on the taxiway in Ämari airbase, Estonia. The necessary torque of the tightening bolts "was not present".[109]
  • 8 August 2018 – A Spanish Eurofighter accidentally launched an AMRAAM missile without a target while on patrol over Estonia. The missile was not confirmed to have self-destructed as designed.[110]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  105. ^ "Italy Assumes Lead For Baltic Air Policing". ac.nato.int. 1 September 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  106. ^ "The Italian Typhoons Supporting NATO Baltic Air Policing in Lithuania Intercept A Russian Il-20M ELINT Aircraft". theaviationist.com. 12 September 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  107. ^ Lithuanian L-39 crashes after collision with French Mirage
  108. ^ Danish jets make unscheduled landing after bird collision in Estonian airspace.
  109. ^ [1]
  110. ^ https://news.sky.com/story/spanish-fighter-jet-accidentally-fires-missile-in-estonia-11465025

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°53′38″N 23°23′42″E / 55.8939°N 23.3950°E / 55.8939; 23.3950