Denmark is preparing four of its F-16 fighter jets for a new deployment to Lithuania in support of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission in the Baltic States.
“We welcome the decision by Denmark to offer additional fighter jets to NATO’s air policing mission in the Baltic States. This is a substantial contribution to our collective defence, and a strong display of Denmark’s significant contributions to Alliance security. As Denmark has made clear, this deployment comes in the context of the current crisis caused by Russia’s continuing military build-up in and near Ukraine. We always remain vigilant”, said NATO Deputy Spokesperson Piers Cazalet.
The jets and up to 70 personnel are going to operate out of Šiauliai Air Base. Controlled by Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Uedem, the jets will fly sorties safeguarding the airspace above Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Danish F-16s will join Polish and Belgian F-16s in the region and provide NATO with an enhanced Air Policing capability to accomplish the enduring mission and ensure deterrence and defence on NATO’s northeastern flank.
While NATO’s original Baltic Air Policing mission started with one fighter detachment in Lithuania in 2004, the Alliance introduced enhanced Air Policing in 2014 increasing the defensive capability to up to three additional detachments flying out of Estonia, Lithuania and Poland. Allied Air Command at Ramstein, Germany, oversees the mission, and the various national contributions are tactically controlled and managed by the Alliance’s northern CAOC.