RAF Typhoons currently deployed in Lithuania have been taking part in the largest annual NATO maritime exercise in the Baltic region, Exercise BALTOPs 2020.
The Typhoons from 6 Squadron RAF are normally based at RAF Lossiemouth but are currently deployed to Šiauliai in Lithuania, as part of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission. In addition to this mission the fighters also join NATO exercises in the region to provide a land based fast jet contribution and to practice and maintain each pilot’s operational skills.
“It was a pleasure to be able to participate in BALTOPs 2020. Working with aircraft and naval units from a variety of NATO members made for an interesting and valuable training opportunity. Interaction in both the planning and airborne stages of the exercise enhanced our appreciation of how fellow NATO members work and led to an ultimately successful exercise sortie.”
This year’s BALTOPs Exercise is based around the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 which has been added to by other ships from the UK, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Germany and the United States of America to form a Combined Task Group (CTG). The Royal Navy’s contribution to the exercise is HMS Kent, a Type 23 Frigate.
The role of the RAF Typhoons together with Polish Su-22 aircraft is to carry out simulated air attacks on the CTG, meanwhile Polish F-16 fighters are defending the CTG, while the ships also practice their defensive drills.
This annual exercise, which has been held since 1972, is primarily designed to create the right environment to conduct interoperability training between NATO Allies and partner nations. Such training is essential to create and maintain an effective and capable military alliance.