The UK is once more taking its turn to enhance NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission with four Typhoon aircraft, which have deployed from RAF Lossiemouth to Amari airbase in Estonia (Mike Crutch reports).
The Typhoons augment four Norwegian F-16 fighters aircraft in Lithuania and will safeguard the airspace of the Baltic states through until the end of August.
The Estonian Minister for Foreign Affairs Ms Keit Pentus-Roimannus welcomed the RAF as a “demonstration of Alliance solidarity carrying a visible sign and sound, which was the whisper of freedom”.
The RAF detachment, forming under the banner of No.121 Expeditionary Air Wing, is led by Wing Commander Stu Smiley and took over the NATO task from the Spanish Air Force.
Having arrived directly from RAF Lossiemouth after a journey of a little over two hours the four jets from No.6 Squadron are set to play their part in ensuring that aircraft are available on high readiness ground alert to investigate any unknown approaches to the Baltic air space, usually probing Russian Air Force aircraft.
The jets will also carry out training and practice scrambles with their NATO partners.
NATO Baltic Air Policing missions have been carried out continuously since 2004. The Royal Air Force’s previous roulement was in 2014, with RAF Coningsby-based Typhoons deploying to Lithuania.