Typhoon aircraft have begun a four-month NATO Air Policing mission in the Baltic region.
The British aircraft replaced their German counterparts.
Typhoons from XI(F) Squadron normally based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire began their NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from Ämari Airbase in Estonia on 3 May after replacing the German Eurofighters flown by the Tactical Fighter Wing 71 ‘Richthofen’ (Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 71 ‘Richthofen’) of the Luftwaffe.
Representing the RAF at the Handover Ceremony, Air Vice Marshal Ian Duguid, Air Officer Commanding Number 11 Group said according to a release:
“We have been working very closely with the German Air Force during our preparation and have shared both ideas and experience. They have done an excellent job over the last eight months and we will draw upon their support and our own extensive experience as we begin our own mission.”
The Officer Commanding XI(F), Wing Commander Paul O’Grady, said:
“It has been a fantastic ten days since our arrival as we’ve used the handover period to prepare for QRA duties. We’ve got a lot to learn from our German colleagues and our two air forces are working closer and closer together. For example, we have two Luftwaffe pilots just starting on exchange at RAF Coningsby on the Typhoon Force.”
Describing the partnership the Wing Commander added: “We’ve been doing a lot of work to see how we could work more closely in the future. We have the same aircraft but there are some small differences about how we do business and we’re trying to bring it closer together so that maybe in the future we could have RAF and Luftwaffe Typhoons side by side on QRA.”
Following their arrival in Estonia on the 24th April, the MoD say in a release that RAF Typhoon crews have been working with their German counterparts to prepare themselves for the NATO mission of providing a Quick Reaction Alert capability off the Baltic Sea area around Estonia.