Poland taking over NATO air-policing mission at Lithuanian air base from Netherlands

  • 2017-05-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The Polish Air Force is taking over NATO's Baltic air policing mission from the Royal Netherlands Air Force in a ceremony at the Siauliai air base in Lithuania on Tuesday.

Four Polish F-16 fighter jets will replace the Netherlands' four F-16s that have safeguarded the Baltic skies for four months.

Poland is contributing to the Baltic air-policing mission for the seventh time after 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and two rotations in 2014. Previously, it used MiG-29 Fulcum fighters to police the Baltic skies.

The rotation ceremony at the Siauliai air base is to be attended by Lithuanian Deputy Defense Minister Vytautas Umbrasas and other guests.

NATO launched the Baltic air-policing mission in 2004 after the Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia joined the Alliance. Seventeen NATO allies have since taken turns policing the airspace. The rotation Poland is taking over will be the 44th since 2004.