THE DEPLOYMENT OF Moray-based Typhoons to support the Nato Baltic Air Policing mission underlines the commitment to the sovereignty of democratic nations.
That was the view expressed yesterday by the UK Defence Secretary just 24 hours after four jets from II(Army Cooperation) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth flew out to Estonia.
With full ground crew support from Moray, the aircraft will operate in a manner that ensures two of them are ready 24/7 until the end of August to react to any aggressive actions directed from Russia against its former partners.
“The deployment underlines our commitment to the sovereignty of the democratic nations of Eastern Europe,” Philip Hammond said, adding: “24 hours a day, seven days a week for the next four months our RAF Typhoons will be ready to respond instantly to Russian aggression in Baltic airspace.”
The deployment takes to 10 the number of Typhoons currently serving overseas, with a detachment from Lossiemouth currently in Cyprus undertaking daily missions against Daesh targets in Iraq and Syria.
In command of the deployed forces is Wing Commander Gordon Melville, CO of 140 Expeditionary Air Wing. Of the latest deployment, the third successive year that the RAF have provided such cover for the Baltic allies, he said: “I am very proud to be leading 140 Expeditionary Air Wing as we again provide air policing support to our Estonian NATO allies.
“Although we are all far from our families and friends while over here, our hosts have given us a warm welcome and we are looking forward to working with them over the next four months.”
The Baltic Air Policing mission exists to provide Nato alliance members who do not have their own air policing assets with assistance in four-monthly cycles. The key UK role in the mission has been welcomed by Nato and General Philip Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.