The Polish Air Force is preparing to return to Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, to lead the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from January 2019 onwards.
The Polish Air Force will deploy four F-16C/D Block 52+ fighter jets to Šiauliai, Lithuania. This will be the eighth time, the Polish Air Force supports NATO’s mission patrolling the skies over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
According to a NATO news release:
“Poland first supported the defensive peacetime mission for the first time in 2005 and has since deployed their MiG-29 and F-16 jets to Šiauliai Air Base and Ämari Air Base; moreover, 2014 and 2015 the Ally made available Malbork Air Base for Allied fighter deployments under NATO’s assurance measures.
Meanwhile, Germany is set to conduct its second back-to-back deployment after 2016/2017. The five German Air Force Eurofighter jets as well as pilots, maintainers and civilian and military support staff will remain at Ämari Air Base, Estonia until the end of April 2019. In late August 2018, Germany took over the augmenting role in Baltic Air Policing from the French Air Force.”
In March 2019 a Portuguese Air Force F-16 detachment is scheduled to deploy to Malbork Air Base, Poland, under NATO’s assurance measures.
A third detachment fill for the standing peacetime mission of Baltic Air Policing is a result of additional aircraft offers made by Allies.