The French Air Force during a ceremony today took over NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission from the Italian Air Force, augmenting Baltic Air Policing that safeguards the airspace over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
“NATO’s presence in Estonia, and in the region, has never been so significant as it is now and your air policing activities are indispensable part of NATO’s visible presence and deterrence in the Eastern border of the Alliance,” Estonian Minister of Defence Mr. Jüri Luik addressed both detachents in the presence of senior political and military representatives from Estonia, France, Italy and NATO and international guests according to a press release.
“It is of utmost importance that you are here and your contribution to the Baltic Air Policing mission is invaluable,” the Minister added.
Since May 2014, the Estonian base has been host to the augmenting detachment for the standing peacetime Air Policing mission in the region hosting 17 successive rotations of Allied fighter aircraft visibly underlining NATO’s collective commitment and solidarity. The mission is controlled by the northern Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany.