The 40th rotation of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission will take place this week (7 January 2016) in Lithuania and Estonia.
Responsibility for the mission will be transferred from Hungary and Germany to Spain and Belgium, demonstrating NATO’s enduring solidarity with its Baltic Allies, NATO said in a statement Tuesday
Spain will lead the Baltic Air Policing mission for the first four months of 2016 with four Eurofighter Typhoon jets based at Šiauliai, Lithuania. Four Belgian F-16 fighter jets will be based at the Ämari airbase in Estonia.
Allies take up the air patrols for a four-month rotation. Germany and Hungary had been patrolling the airspace over the Baltic countries since September.
NATO has been protecting the Baltic skies since 2004, when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the Alliance. The mission helps NATO’s Baltic Allies who do not have their own fighter aircraft to guard their airspace.
NATO Allies protect their airspace on a 24/7 basis. NATO’s air defence efforts are focused on stopping incursions into NATO airspace.