Mar 19, 2014
United Kingdom offers Typhoons for Baltic Air Policing Mission
RAF Typhoons would be made available to bolster the Polish detachment at Siauliai Air Base from April. It is likely that four aircraft would be deployed to match the four MiG-29 of the Polish Air Force.
The UK has contributed aircraft to the Baltic Air Policing Mission on one other occasion, with Tornado F.3 fighters in 2004, and this is the first time that it has offered to bolster another nation's detachment.
The offer was made as regional tensions continue to rise following the Russian invasion of the Ukrainian region of Crimea
UK's offer is the latest in a series of aircraft movements by both the West and Russia that are designed to send signals of intent rather than to boost actual regional combat capabilities.
The US Air Force has already bolstered its current Baltic Air Policing detachment of four Boeing F-15C Eagles with a further six aircraft, and has sent 12 Lockheed Martin F-16 to Poland. NATO and the UK have also dispatched Boeing E-3 Airborne Warning And Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft to patrol Eastern European airspace. For its part, Russia has sent six Su-27 'Flanker' fighters and a Beriev A-50 'Mainstay' airborne early warning aircraft to Belarus, and on 17 March Russia's Air Force Commander announced that 24 Su-27 fighters would be located at Baranovichi Air Base in Belarus by the end of the year.