The Polish Air Force have taken over the augmenting role in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission during a ceremony held at Ämari Airbase, Estonia.

According to a NATO news release, the detachment of roughly 140 personnel and their F-16 fighter jets took over from a detachment of the Czech Air Force, which had been augmenting the mission from Ämari since August 2019.

“As usual the ceremony was attended by high ranking civilian and military guests, amongst them Permanent Secretary of the Estonian Ministry of Defence, Mr. Kristjan Prikk, the Estonian Air Force’s Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Veiko-Vello Palm as well as the Commander of the Polish Air Operations Centre and Air component Command, Major General Dariusz Malinowski and the Czech Air Chief, Major General Petr Hromek.”

The Alliance was represented by the Deputy Commander of NATO’s Northern Combined Air Operations Centre, Brigadier General Pilot Sławomir Żakowski. In a speech addressing the distinguished guests as well as the Airmen from Poland and the Czech Republic, he said:

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the outgoing Air Mission personnel on a job well done. The Polish Air Force has been a vital and experienced contributor to many NATO air missions.”

The lead of the mission remains with a detachment of the Belgian Air Force which will stay at Šiauliai Airbase, Lithuania for a double rotation of eight months straight until April 2020. From August until December 2019 the mission was also augmented by a third detachment from the Royal Danish Air Force, also based at Šiauliai.

Baltic Air Policing is a regionally specific part of NATO’s Air Policing mission which the Alliance say preserves the integrity, safety and security of the airspace over all European NATO Allies.

“For NATO countries that don’t have the full set of own Air Policing capabilities, like the three Baltic States, Allies take turns providing these capabilities for them. All Air Policing is overseen by NATO’s Allied Air Command, headquartered at Ramstein Germany and controlled by one of NATO’s two Combined Air Operations Centres.”
The Combined Air Operations Centre responsible for all northern European NATO airspace, including the Baltics, is located at Uedem, Germany.
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Andy
Andy
8 months ago

Is this double rotation so they can switch to F35’s during a long period of no NATO responsibilities?

Sky Soldier
Sky Soldier
8 months ago

I am a nasty old man with a very divergent sense of humor and I love telling political jokes especially ethnic political jokes. My favorite Polish political joke is who Poland greatest hero is and the conventional answer is John III Sobieski (17 August 1629- 17June 1696) John III, by the grace of God King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia, Prussia, Masovia, Samogitia, Livonia, Smolensk. Kiev, Volhynia, Podlasie, Severia and Cherniv. Of course some Pole will always say no it was Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky (September 11, 1877 – July 20, 1926) the founder of the CHEKA and the… Read more »

Helions
Helions
8 months ago
Reply to  Sky Soldier

“Better to die on your feet than live on your knees” Or in more modern times: “If one F***ing East German Soldier steps foot on Polish territory, I’ll order the Polish armed forces to fight to the last man (sic) : Wojciech Jaruzelski. During the Solidarity Uprising Gdansk.

Cheers

HF
HF
8 months ago
Reply to  Helions

The old rivalries never go away.