Allied Royal Danish Air Force F-16s have been stationed at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania since September for Baltic Air Policing (BAP) and will continue the mission until December. Denmark has four F-16s and 56 service members from Fighter Wing Skrydstrup currently deployed in Siauliai Air Base. Denmark shares the lead nation role at Siauliai with the Portuguese detachment. Danish and Portuguese personnel have worked closely together to ensure the safety of Allied airspace in the Baltic Sea Region.
Denmark has previously sent fighter jets to the Baltics in 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2018 and 2019. This is the 8th time Denmark contributes to the mission and the 7th time Denmark leads the BAP mission. Therefore, the Danish Air Force is familiar with this routine commitment. The F-16 fighter jets are due to be phased out shortly, and the F-35 is due to take over from the F-16 by 2025. During this period, a break from international missions is planned so the Danish Air Force can focus on the transition from the F-16 to the F-35.
“We are here to protect Estonian and Lithuanian airspace. We expect regular air traffic, but we are prepared to react quickly if threats arise. We are ready to move out 24 hours a day – seven days a week,” said Lt Col Niels M. Andersen, Danish Baltic Air Policing Detachment commander.
The Royal Danish Air Force bought a total of 77 F-16A/B aircraft in 2 major batches and 2 attrition replacement orders. Of these, 48 aircraft and 14 spares, all upgraded to MLU standard. Currently the aircraft are being upgraded with the LINK 16 advanced tactical data link, JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System), and an advanced EWMS (Electronic Warfare Management System). With the modernization of the Danish F-16s to MLU standards, also other weapon systems were introduced on the fleet. Besides the purchase of some LANTIRN pods, also LGB weapons were acquired consisting in GBU-12 and GBU-24 weapons. Denmark was the first of the four EPAF countries to purchase the GBU-31 JDAM for its F-16 fleet.