On January 5 a Danish Air Force Detachment landed with four F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft in Šiauliai Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force to carry out next rotation of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states.
A formal changeover ceremony will be held at the Lithuanian Air Force in Šiauliai on January 8 to transfer the lead of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states after four months of duty from the U.S. Air Force Detachment to the incoming Royal Danish Air Force Detachment with four F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft.
The Danish rotation is formed by personnel and equipment of the Fighter Wing Skrydstrup of the Danish Air Force. It is the sixth time Denmark is manning the mission, the previous rotations were deployed in 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013 to Šiauliai, and in 2014 to Amari Air Base, Estonia.
The outgoing U.S. Air Force Detachment with four F-15 Eagle fighters was the fifth rotation deployed to carry out the Mission by the United States of America (previous rotations took place in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2014).
The ceremony on January 8 will be attended Commander of NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Major General Thierry Dupont, Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force Colonel Dainius Guzas, mayor of Šiauliai City Artūras Vicockas, U.S. and Danish delegations, representatives of embassies, other guest.
17 NATO allies have already contributed since NATO began sending Air Policing Mission rotations to protect the Baltic airspace right after Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined NATO on March 2004. The U.S. detachment carried out the 45th rotation of the mission since 2004Three years ago the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states was augmented.