P-3C maritime patrol aircraft of the Portuguese Air Force augments the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states and helps protecting the Baltic skies. The P-3C patrols over the sea, identifies and monitors motion above the water, provides additional data to fighter aircraft pilots.
The P-3C will be deployed at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai until mid-August. It was deployed to Lithuania with a crew of 30 in late June from Beja Air Base in the southern part of Portugal.
10 fighter aircraft of NATO allies have been protecting the Baltic airspace from the Lithuanian Air Forces Base in Šiauliai from May: heading the current 47th rotation of the NATO Air Policing Mission, Portugal is operating four F-16 from Šiauliai, and Spain is operating the augmentation of six Eurofighter Typhoons. Also, four Mirage 2000-5 of the Spanish Air Force are conducting the mission from Amari Air Base in Estonia.
Portugal is providing its fourth rotation of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltics states. The current shift of the Portuguese Air Force includes up to 90 members – pilots, technical and medical personnel, support teams, communications and other specialists deployed from the home-base in Monte Real.
Through the continuous deployments of augmentations to its peacetime air defence mission NATO sends a clear message of deterrence and collective defence to all potential aggressors.
The Enhanced Air Policing detachments are sent as part of the NATO Security Assurance Measures 2014 in the Baltic region to the air bases in Amari (Estonia), Šiauliai (Lithuania) and Malbork (Poland). The presence of detachment in Amari has already become continuous. The augmentations in Šiauliai and Malbork depend on the need (last augmentation was deployed to Malbork in September 2017, and to Šiauliai – in 2015).
Also, a Portuguese rotational force is currently in Lithuania as part of the NATO-agreed Assurance Measures strengthening security of NATO’s Central and Eastern European allies. The Portuguese force brought its own military equipment – all-terrain vehicles, trucks, and combat boats.
Portugal is also contributing to the activities and implementation of tasks of the NATO Force Integration Unit in Lithuania by delegating officers to serve in its staff.