Apr 14, 2014
Germany offers Typhoons to bolster Baltic air policing
The offer has been made to support the Portuguese rotation of four Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons, which is due to take place out of Siauliai Airbase in Lithuania from September to December. The German Typhoons may deploy to Amari Airbase in Estonia.
The news that Berlin has offered to bolster the mission follows similar offers made by the UK, France, and Denmark, in light of the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea and the continued tensions with Ukraine.
With the US currently performing the role with 10 Boeing F-15C Eagle fighters, Poland is set to take over the rotation with four MiG-29 'Fulcrum' fighters from the beginning of May to the end of August.
The NATO official said that the UK's offer of four Typhoons to support the Poles has been accepted, as has the Danish offer of four F-16s (with a further two on standby in Denmark). The UK Typhoons will operate out of Siauliai Airbase alongside the Polish MiG-29s, while two Danish F-16s will fly from Amari Airbase on Quick Reaction Alert (QRA). The remaining two F-16s will be held in reserve and contribute to enhanced training exercises with the Baltic states.
A French offer of assistance involving either Dassault Rafale or Mirage 2000 fighters should see them operate out of Malbork Airbase in Poland. According to NATO, these French fighters will conduct air policing training, but will not be part of the Baltic mission.
Separately, Bulgaria has indicated that it is looking for increased air defence cooperation with its NATO neighbours Romania and Turkey. This follows a spike in QRA scrambles that has reportedly seen the Bulgarian Air Force intercept more Russian military aircraft in the last year than it has over the last 20 years combined. In March that Bulgaria had already agreed such cooperation with Greece.