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NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission contingents will change over in Šiauliai Air Base


On January 5 air contingents conducting the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states will change over at a rotation ceremony in Šiauliai Air Base. After four months of duty the French Air Force detachment will be succeeded by the Royal Netherlands Air Force detachment with four Fighting Falcon F-16 fighter aircraft.


The rotation ceremony will be attended by Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis, acting Chief of Defence of Lithuania, Chief of the Joint Staff Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras, representatives of the French Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force, NATO and Šiauliai town administration, and others.


This is the third rotation the Royal Netherlands Air Force will provide to the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states. The first one was carried out with F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters in 2005 from Šiauliai Air Base, and the second one was conducted with F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft in 2014 from Malbork airbase in Poland. The roughly 120 airmen of different specialisations of the Royal Netherlands Air Force detachment are deployed from Leeuwarden and Vokel airbases in Germany.


The outgoing French air contingent were policing the Baltic skies in four Mirage 2000 fighters.


Augmentation of the Air Policing Mission deployed in Amari Air Base (Estonia), a German air contingent with Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, will stay for the second consecutive rotation.


The NATO Air Policing mission in the Baltic states was launched in March 2004 upon the NATO accession of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. To date, 17 NATO allies have deployed air capabilities to conduct the mission, the 43rd rotation of which since 2004 is now going to be carried out by the Dutch air contingent.

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