Four Belgian Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft touched down at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania on the 29th of August 2019 to take over the lead of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing from the Hungarian Air Force JAS-39 fighter aircraft.
The Belgian Air Force, which back in 2004 was the first Ally to start NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission in the region, will be the lead nation for the last four months in 2019. The official handover-takeover ceremony of the mission took place at Šiauliai Air Base on the 3rd of September 2019.
“It is great for Belgium to be back here in the Baltics,” said Major Simon Gerard, Detachment Commander of the 60-strong Belgian F-16 detachment.
“We never really left since the region as the upcoming deployment will be the ninth for our jets to contribute to NATO’s peacetime mission here safeguarding Allied airspace. We look forward to working with our Danish and Czech colleagues and of course our Lithuanian hosts.”