Spain, France and the United Kingdom have taken up NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, guarding the skies over the Baltic region for the next four months.
According to NATO, the three NATO Allies are replacing air force detachments from Belgium and Poland which have protected the airspace of NATO’s three Baltic Allies Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since January.
“The Spanish and British air force contingents will operate out of Siauliai airbase in Lithuania, while the French air force will fly from Amari in Estonia. Spain is the lead nation for the mission. NATO’s Baltic Air Policing deployment is a defensive mission that sees allies sending planes to patrol the airspace of the three Baltic States, who do not have fighter jets of their own. The Air Policing programme keeps fighter jets on alert 24/7 and ready to scramble in case of suspicious air activity close to the Alliance’s borders.”
“We thank Spain, France and the UK for taking over NATO’s Baltic-air policing mission”, said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu in a statement.

“This 24/7 mission demonstrates that our commitment to the security of our Allies is rock-solid and that our vital work goes on despite the coronavirus pandemic,” she stressed.

The mission which has been running since 2004 took on greater prominence following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014.

In 2019, Allied jets attached to NATO’s Baltic air-policing mission scrambled around 200 times to safeguard allied airspace, say the Alliance.

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JohnHartley

Now that Italian & Spanish Typhoon tranche 1 have been updated, I would like to see that off the shelf upgrade to RAF tranche 1 Typhoon.

julian1

The Spanish T1 Typhoons were rumoured to be in talks to be sold to Colombia – a year or two ago. I guess this is probably unlikely now given the upgrade as they seem to be making a commitment to them. Were these primarily a2a upgrades, ie, no attempt to improve a2g capabilities? I remember reading about it in AFM last year I think. How much would the upgrades cost (assuming similar upgrades?)

JohnHartley

I understand Columbia has been offered new build T3 Typhoon, as well as the offer of Spanish T1 pre owned Typhoon.
Janes, 26 Feb 2019 said the Spanish Typhoon tranche one upgrade fitted T2 & T3 equipment. A computer symbol generator, digital video & voice recorder, laser designator pod & a maintenance data panel. I think the idea was to keep them going until at least 2035.
See if this link works
https://www.janes.com/article/86847/spain-receives-first-upgraded-tranche-1-eurofighter

julian1

yes, I remember they were offered T3 as well but extremely unlikely they would operate them due to cost and also politics. Duque is very close to Trump and they are discussing Plan Colombia 2 which would most likely include US combat aircraft very cheaply. Possible adversary: Venezuela with Russian aircraft

Cam

The F16 would be a good bet for Columbia.

julian1

would need to be a very recent/latest block, but yes it would be a good step-up from the Kfir

the_marquis

Also, as I understand it, the T1s can’t be fitted with the Captor-E/CAESAR AESA radar due to a lack of processing capability and electical wiring and cooling systems to support the new system. Although I wonder whether the Existing Captor units could be mated with a new AESA front end, similar to what Saab has done with its new budget AESA radar, the PS05/A Mk5, that it has sold to the US Govt and is offering as a cheap upgrade to existing Gripen C/D fleets, separate to Gripen E/F its Raven ES05 unit. If not, would it be possible to… Read more »

Sceptical Richard

Spain has F18 for a2g

Watcherzero

The tranche 1 are a bad choice to upgrade, the airframe isn’t compatible with the Tranche 3 upgrades as it hasnt been reinforced in the equipment mounting locations. So the only thing being upgraded is the computers and wiring.

Andy

Do you think they could be used as tempest technology demonstrators?
Maybe they could even find a new role with tempest technology on board?

Nicholas

How does the Typhoon compare to US and our other allies aircraft?

ETH

It’s an excellent dog fighter and interceptor, one of the best (if not the best) in the world in terms of supersonic performance and agility. It was originally a poor air to ground aircraft but with the retiring of Tornado and Harriers developments like laser targeting pods have been made to improve that role. I would personally look at it like a non-stealth F22, with more modern avionics and jammers.

Andy

Perhaps some of our American readers can weigh in on how Typhoon is perceived?

Jaralodo

As an American who has enjoyed this site for awhile, I think it will remain a formidable fighter for at least the next decade or two Andy. I agree with ETH, especially in an interceptor role such as the Baltic mission. It’s simply a faster plane and carry more weapons, so I think it will always be a better choice for that role over the F35, at least until Tempest is in full production. I think we need to keep our F15s for the same role for the Air National guard as well as get some of the newest versions… Read more »

JohnHartley

I have rambled on before that Tempest should be a common airframe designed to take 2 sets of bits. The British version would use engines, radars, etc from tranche 3 Typhoon. The American version would use engines, radars, etc from block III Super Hornet.
With the eye watering debt that both the UK & the USA are running up over Covid-19, we need our next generation fighters to be as cheap to develop as possible.

Nicholas

Thanks to you all for your replies.

Itan1956

The Spanish T1 Typhoons were rumoured to be in talks to be sold to Colombia – a year or two ago. I guess this is probably unlikely now given the upgrade as they seem to be making a commitment to them. Were these primarily a2a upgrades, ie, no attempt to improve a2g capabilities? I remember reading about it in AFM last year I think. How much would the upgrades cost (assuming similar upgrades….topbestjob.com