Typhoon jets and Voyager tankers will support continuous NATO air policing over Poland and Romania’s border with Ukraine.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said:
“We are increasing our air policing contribution to NATO from RAF Akrotiri and the UK to help protect our NATO allies. So, this is a defensive capability designed to protect the airspace of our NATO allies… they will not operate in Ukrainian or Russian airspace. Just to emphasise, this isn’t additional air support, this is the air support already committed to NATO doing additional activities.”
This comes after a previous announcement that 350 Royal Marines from 45 Commando are to deploy to Poland.
They will support the Polish military with joint exercises, contingency planning and capacity building as the build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s border continues. Speaking at a joint press conference with Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the 350 Royal Marines would add to 100 British Army troops already in the country.
“In that spirit of solidarity and helping share each other’s challenges of resiliences we will add to those 100 Royal Engineers by sending a further 350 British troops to Poland in a bilateral deployment to show that we can work together and send a strong signal that Britain and Poland stand side by side,” Mr Wallace said.
What is NATO Air Policing?
NATO say that Air Policing deployments aim to preserve the security of Alliance airspace.
“It is a collective task and involves the continuous presence – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – of fighter aircraft and crews, which are ready to react quickly to possible airspace violations.”
The Alliance also say:
- NATO Air Policing is a collective task and a purely defensive mission involving the 24/7 presence of fighter aircraft, which are ready to react quickly to possible airspace violations.
- NATO members assist those Allies who are without the necessary means to provide air policing of their own territory.
- The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) is responsible for the conduct of the NATO Air Policing mission.
- Preservation of the integrity of NATO airspace is one of the missions of NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence.
- NATO Air Policing is one of the permanent peacetime missions of NATO.