Czech JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft are now augmenting Baltic Air Policing after taking over from the British Typhoon detachment.
In front of senior political and military representatives from Estonia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and NATO, the Royal Air Force handed over the mission to their successors from the Czech Air Force during an official ceremony on September the 2nd at Ämari Air Base, Estonia.
“This Czech Air Force detachment is the 17th consecutive deployment Estonia hosted since 2014, when the superb air base of Ämari was activated as an additional NATO base in the Baltic region,” said NATO representative, Polish Air Force Brigadier General Slavomir Zakowski, deputy commander Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, Germany.
“We have demonstrated NATO’s interoperability amongst our forces and shown that we are united and resolute to protect all our Allies,” he added.
NATO and the Allies launched the Air Policing mission from the moment of the accession of the three Baltic States in order to police their airspace and provide protection.
According to a NATO release, Mr Jüri Luik, Estonian Minister of Defence commended NATO and the Allies for launching the Air Policing mission “from the moment of the accession of the three Baltic States.” He then thanked the Royal Air Force detachment for “their excellent service safeguarding the sovereignty of the NATO airspace over the Baltic States” and welcomed the Czech detachment “who joined the ranks of Allied nations operating Baltic Air Policing from Ämari.”