French Air Force fighters currently deployed to Estonia as part of the enhanced Air Police (eAP) mission conducted their first multinational exercise on May 6, alongside their Finnish and Swedish counterparts.
Three Mirage 2000-5s began training in the morning, accompanied by four Finnish F / A-18Cs. During a flight of about two hours, they flew over Finland and trained in combat. In the afternoon, six Swedish JAS-39 Gripen Cs participated in the same exercise alongside French fighters.
These flights were able to take place within the framework of the “Finnish Swedish Training Exercise” (FSTE) protocol. Since Finland and Sweden are not part of NATO, this protocol allows nations involved in the operation “Baltic Air Policing” (BAP) and “enhanced Air Policing” (eAP) to train with the two Nordic countries, but after having been disarmed. This exercise is an opportunity to strengthen interoperability between European nations and will be repeated during the French mission in Estonia.
eAP is part of NATO’s air police missions in the Baltic countries (Baltic Air Policing, BAP). These missions aim to guarantee the integrity of the Baltic airspace in peacetime, and France has been a regular participant since 2004. Also, when NATO implemented the eAP in 2014 as reassurance measures towards the Baltic countries, France responded. The French forces, in solidarity with their Allies, have thus completed their engagement in BAP by proposing to take alert missions as part of the eAP mission, whose latest contingent has just arrived on Estonian soil.