The Royal Air Force will be returning to Estonia in 2019 to conduct the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson MP has announced. 

In addition the RAF will also conduct NATO Air Policing in Iceland for the first time during 2019. These new UK deployments acknowledges the important alliance to Europe’s defence, stability and security.

The Estonia deployment will see four RAF Typhoons return to Estonia, to conduct the  Air Policing mission, it will be the first time since 2016 that the RAF have conducted this mission. Later in the year the Typhoons will patrol Icelandic skies.

According to the Royal Air Force:

“These deployments will allow the UK to work closely with allies to deter aerial threats to Euro Atlantic security. The mission will also provide the RAF with unique opportunities to test its skills in different environments.

As part of NATO’s Air Policing measures, which see NATO fighter jets ready to react 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, the UK currently has four RAF Typhoons deployed to Mihail Kog?lniceanu Airbase in Romania supporting security in the South and the Black Sea region.”

The Defence Secretary was speaking at the NATO Defence Ministerial in Brussels, the last ahead of the NATO Summit in July

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Fedaykin

You know it will be interesting to see what country first deploys F-35 for Baltic air policing!

I am hoping it is the UK with F-35B, I am keen for the RAF to move away from single role fighter squadrons and really stretch the flexibility of the types we operate.

For that matter I would be keen for the RAF as an experiment to place 617 onto QRA and see how the F-35B performs in that role even if it is to do some simulated practice Q alerts.

Julian1

Would it be a lot more reliant on AAR, makes more sense for air policing missions or expeditionary deployments rather than standard UK QRA which should remain the preserve of Typhoon tranche 1 for now at least

CR

F-35b has 13,300 lbs of internal fuel vs Typhoon’s 11,000. It has one less engine which is newer and presumably more efficient so I don’t think there is much if any downside in terms of range.

Both can carry drop tanks if needed, the reduction in stealth is not too important in QRA.

Sean

Given the EU now regards the U.K. as a security threat over involvement with Galileo, we should pull our forces and military assists out of EU member states and back to the UK. Given the abysmal defence spending of EU member states they need us more than we need them, time to remind them of that.

Ross Linnett

We spend a fraction in total of the combined EU defence budget

Sean. Seconded but we have plenty of friends and allies. Just very few of them are European !

Gabriel Breiner

This is not a EU mission, but a NATO mission, so unless you think that the UK should leave NATO as well, it really sounds like a very stupid idea….