German Air Force Reinforces Patrolling of the Baltic Airspace
(Source: Lithuania Ministry of Defence; issued July 20, 2020)
The Baltic airspace is protected by a German Eurofighter detachment that strengthen the Baltic Air Policing Mission conducted from Šiauliai. The German Air Force detachment from the Tactical Fighter Wing 21 deployed last week on the basis of bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom: it joined the already deployed Royal Air Force detachment and the Spanish Air Force detachment enhancing the mission.

“To continue this bilateral cooperation is a great opportunity for learning in an operational environment,” Wing Commander Lt Col Stu Gwinnutt, the Officer Commanding RAF 135 Expeditionary Air Wing deployed to Lithuania, sad welcoming the German colleagues. He also underscored that such cooperation offers unique training and operation conduct opportunities not only to pilots but also to engineers providing service to the aircraft of different air forces.

The Baltic airspace is guarded by 15 fighter aircraft at the moment. Spain’s, United Kingdom’s and Germany’s fighter jets are operating from Šiauliai, and France’s air assets are conducting the mission from Amari, Estonia. The NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states was launched in 2004 when Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia became members of NATO.

Germany has deployed its sixth rotation of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states.

Germany is also the framework nation and largest contributor to the multinational NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group deployed in Rukla for deterrence and defence purposes since 2017. Also, a Lithuanian mechanised infantry brigade is affiliated to a German division in order to expand training opportunities for Lithuanian and German military personnel.

Germany makes generous contributions to the development of Lithuania’s defence capabilities. It is a long-term partner in modernisation of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, its weaponry and equipment – Lithuania is buying the Vilkas IFVs, Pz2000 self-propelled howitzers, M577 armoured personnel carriers, etc., from Germany. The countries also cooperate on upgrading training areas of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and their infrastructure; German officers are assigned to the staff of the NATO Force Integration Unit in Vilnius.

In late June a group of German ships, FGS Main (A515) tender, FGS Oste (A52), and FGS U-34 submarine, paid a friendly visit to Klaipėda Seaport. NATO ally Germany is also supporting the security in the Baltic region with different forces on land, at sea, and in the air.

Repeated enhancements of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states, a peacetime mission, sends a clear NATO signal of deterrence and collective defence to all potential aggressors.

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