Baltic Air Policing
|Baltic Air Policing|
Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon (bottom) escorts Russian Air Force Su-27 Flanker (top) over the Baltic in June 2014
Within the Alliance, preserving airspace integrity is conducted as a collective task jointly and collectively using fighter aircraft for Air Policing. Air policing is a purely defensive mission. Since the 1970s, NATO has established a comprehensive system of air surveillance and airspace management means, as well as Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) assets for intercepts (QRA(I)) provided by its member nations. By means of radar sites, remote data transmission, Control and Reporting Centres (CRCs) and Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs) the Alliance ensures constant surveillance and control of its assigned airspace 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. NATO exploits these facilities to react within seconds to air traffic incidents in the Allies’ airspace. This structure of weapon systems, control centres and procedures is referred to as the NATO Integrated Air Defence System (NATINADS). NATINADS has been and remains one cornerstone of Alliance solidarity and cohesion. The responsible Allied Air Headquarters are at Izmir, Turkey and Ramstein, Germany. The dividing line is the Alps. The Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein’s air area of responsibility is divided in two Air Policing Areas (APAs):
- APA 1 is controlled by the CAOC Finderup, Denmark (deactivated in 2013);
- APA 2 is controlled by the CAOC Uedem, Germany.
NATO members without their own Air Policing assets are assisted by other NATO members. Luxembourg is covered by interceptors from Belgium, while Slovenia and Albania are covered by Italian and Greek aircraft.
Since March 2004, when the Baltic States joined NATO, the 24/7 task of policing the airspace of the Baltic States was conducted on a three-month rotation from Lithuania's First Air Force Base in Zokniai/Šiauliai International Airport, near the northern city of Šiauliai, and starting 2014 at the Ämari Air Base in Harju County, Estonia. Starting with the Turkish deployment, rotations changed to a four-month basis. Usual deployments consist of four fighter aircraft with between 50 and 100 support personnel.
To ensure Air Policing performance is conducted in a safe and professional way, adequate training was and still is required, as NATO member nations deploy their assets to Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, on a rotational basis. To standardize training across nations, Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein introduced a series of training events formerly called Baltic Region Training Events, now referred to as Ramstein Alloy  to capitalize on experienced aircrews deployed to Šiauliai and to offer superior training for Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian air forces and control facilities. The three host nations contributed €2.2 million in 2011 to cover the deployment expenses and are supposed to contribute €3.5 million yearly by 2015. In 2012, the Alliance allocated €7 million for Šiauliai airfield modernisation from the Security Investment Programme.
During the 2014 Crimean crisis, the U.S. Air Force deployed six F-15C Eagle fighter jets from US-run Lakenheath air base in eastern England to the Lithuanian Air Force Base near Šiauliai. These aircraft will augment the present mission comprising four U.S. F-15C Eagle aircraft. The U.S. heightened its NATO presence to increase the strength of the Baltic Air Policing mission. Another two U.S. KC-135 aerial refuelling aircraft brought aircraft service personnel. In May 2014, NATO established its second air base in Estonia's Ämari near Tallinn, beginning with a Danish deployment. Additionally in May 2014, Polish Air Force units at Malbork Air Base were reinforced by the French Air Force 
According to a former staff of the National Defence University of Finland the Baltic air bases are untenable in a war scenario as they lack hardened aircraft shelters which makes them vulnerable to attack. Also Russia operates long-range SAMs in Kaliningrad, Pskov and Leningrad Oblast which would severely hamper or stop air operations from the area.
- 30 August 2011 - A French Mirage collided with Lithuanian trainer jet L-39, which crashed into a marsh. Both pilots ejected.
- 29 April 2013 - A Danish F-16 landed in Tallinn after it suffered a bird strike, which caused minor engine damage.
- 9 October 2015 - A German Eurofighter's right external tank dropped "while taxiing to the start position" on the taxiway in Ämari airbase, Estonia. The necessary torque of the tightening bolts "was not present".
- 8 August 2018 - A Spanish Eurofighter accidentally launched an AMRAAM missile without a target while on patrol over Estonia. The missile was not confirmed to have self-destructed as designed.
French Mirage 2000s during a Baltic Air Policing deployment in 2010.
- CAOC Finderup 1993-2013 Archived July 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- "L'A.M. assicura lo spazio aereo albanese" (in Italian). Retrieved 20 September 2011.
L’Aeronautica Militare assicura già dal 2007, con i propri velivoli, l’"Air Policing" dello spazio aereo sloveno.
- Baltic Region Training Event.
- A Mission in the Interest of the Whole Alliance. PISM Bulletin No 88 (421), September 21, 2012
- Hungary will join NATO's Air Policing mission in Baltics.
- Italy’s Typhoon fighter jets secure airspace of Iceland. 10 June 2013
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- US sends six fighters for NATO Baltics patrols: Lithuania Archived March 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
- 6 F-15s, KC-135 to augment NATO mission in Baltics
- The United States augment its participation in NATO's air policing mission in the Baltics
- "NATO opens an air base in Estonia". estonianworld.com. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- NATO's tripled Baltic Air Policing Mission begins by Nicholas de Larrinaga Jane's Defence Weekly 29 April 2014
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- NATO Air - policing mission, Lithuanian Armed Forces
- Belgium Baltic Air Policing
- Air-police functions in the Baltic States to be taken over by Danish personnel
- Hansard, 14/12/04
- Norwegian Ministry of Defence:Norwegian fighter aircraft on a temporary NATO mission in the baltic
- Air policing mission in the Baltic States to be taken over by Dutch troops
- Germans takes over Baltic NATO mission
- 23rd EFS protects Baltic skies
- Zakończenie misji AIR POLICING przez Siły Powietrzne RP. Archived 2010-02-18 at the Wayback Machine mon.gov.pl
- Turkish Military Personnel to Take Over Execution of NATO Air Policing Mission Over the Baltic States.
- Spain to carry out NATO patrol in Baltic countries
- Estonian Review, Volume 17 No 13 Mar28-Apr3, 2007, p.3: French Take over Baltic Air Policing Mission Archived 2008-02-27 at the Wayback Machine
- "Romania Performs Air Police Service In The Baltic Countries". Archived from the original on 2012-08-19. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
- Portuguese F-16s to defend Baltic skies
- A participação dos Jaguares na missão Baltics Air Policing 2007 (Portuguese Air Force 301 Squadron) (in Portuguese)
- Oro policijos misiją Baltijos valstybėse iš portugalų perima norvegai (in Lithuanian)
- Gazeta.pl: Prezydent podpisał postanowienie o użyciu wojska w dwóch zagranicznych operacjach (in Polish)
- U.S. Forces begin air policing mission in Baltics Archived 2008-10-14 at the Wayback Machine
- Air Contingent of the Czech Republic took over the NATO Baltic Air-policing mission
- German Air Force to conduct once more NATO Air Policing over Baltic States
- Air Baltic 2010 – France takes over Archived 2012-05-25 at Archive.today
- Dalyvauti oro policijos misijoje atvyksta Lenkijos naikintuvai Archived 2012-01-11 at the Wayback Machine (in Lithuanian)
- US Air contingent take over Baltic Air-policing mission
- Richthofengeschwader sichert baltischen Luftraum (in German)
- Šiauliuose leisis Prancūzijos naikintuvai (in Lithuanian)
- "NATO oro policijos misiją Baltijos šalyse perims Danijos kariai" (in Lithuanian). Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
- Šiauliuose nusileido Vokietijos karinių oro pajėgų naikintuvai (in Lithuanian)
- Orlik 4 na posterunku, sp.mil.pl Archived 2012-10-18 at the Wayback Machine (in Polish)
- Czech Gripen Baltic Airspace Policing Encore
- Baltijos erdvėje patruliuos Danijos karinių oro pajėgų naikintuvai (in Lithuanian)
- NATO oro policijos misijoje danus keičia Prancūzijos karinių oro pajėgų kariai (in Lithuanian)
- Nicholas Fiorenza (17 June 2013). "Belgium To Take Over Baltic Air Policing". Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- Belgian Air Force (2 July 2013). "Baltic Air Policing" (in Dutch). Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- AIRheads/MB (26 July 2013). "Belgian F-16s take on Baltic Air Policing". Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- "U.S. air contingent took over NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission from Belgian troops". 3 January 2014.
- "Allies enhance NATO air-policing duties in Baltic States, Poland, Romania". 29 April 2014.
- "Responsibility for the security of the Baltic airspace will be passed on to Portugal and Canada at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai". 31 August 2014.
- "End of 2014 Marks Hand-Over of NATO's Baltic Air Policing". 1 January 2015.
- "Second Participation of Spanish Air Force in NATO Baltic Air Policing". 2 January 2015.
- "Surveillance aérienne de Pologne" (in French). 16 January 2015.
- "Norway takes the lead in NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission". Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- "Italy ended its NATO Baltic Air Policing mission". 28 August 2015.
- "RAF hands over NATO Air Policing to Luftwaffe at Ämari, Estonia". 25 August 2015.
- "Hungary takes over lead role in Baltic Air Policing". 31 August 2015.
- "Spain and Belgium ensure Safe Skies over the Baltic Region". 7 January 2016.
- "Augmenting Baltic Air Policing Nations hand over responsibility". 28 April 2016.
- "Portugal assumes lead over Baltic Air Policing at Šiauliai". 4 May 2016.
- "Lead in Baltic Air Policing handed over to France at Šiauliai, Lithuania". 31 August 2016.
- "Baltic Air Policing augmenting nations pass baton at Ämari, Estonia". 31 August 2016.
- "France hands over lead in Baltic Air Policing to the Netherlands at Siauliai". 5 January 2017.
- "Germany continues augmenting Baltic Air Policing". 6 January 2017.
- "Baltic Air Policing mission changes lead nation at Šiauliai Air Base". 2 May 2017.
- "Spanish F-18 jets to augment NATO Baltic Air Policing". 3 May 2017.
- "US Air Force assumes lead of 45th rotation of Baltic Air Policing". 30 August 2017.
- "First Ally to conduct Baltic Air Policing, Belgium, back at Ämari". 5 September 2017.
- "NATO Air Policing in Baltics continues with Denmark in lead". 8 January 2018.
- "Italy welcomed in Estonia to augment NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission". 10 January 2018.
- "Portugal to take over lead of Baltic Air Policing". 2 May 2018.
- "French Air Force takes up NATO mission in Baltics". 3 May 2018.
- "Germany starts Baltic Air Policing mission in Estonia". 30 August 2018.
- "NATO Air Policing in Baltic region continues with Belgium in lead". 31 August 2018.
- "Poland first Ally to safeguard Baltic Airspace in 2019". 3 January 2019.
- "Hungary takes over lead role in Baltic Air Policing". 1 May 2019.
- Lithuanian L-39 crashes after collision with French Mirage
- Danish jets make unscheduled landing after bird collision in Estonian airspace.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to NATO Baltic air-policing mission.|
- Ministry of National Defence Republic of Lithuania NATO Air - policing mission
- Estonian Ministry of Defence
- Estonian Air Force
- Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein - NATO Air Policing
- NATO AIRCOM Exercises