United States F-22, Polish F-16s and MiG-29s together with Italian Eurofighters conducted a planned one-day series of aerial manoeuvres on October 12, 2022. These drills demonstrated the Allies are joining up their forces to hone planning and flying skills based on thorough planning and universal tactics, techniques and procedures. International and Polish media joined the Air Shielding event and flew on board two Polish Air Force Casa C-295 transport aircraft. All Allied fighters participating in the event conducted a training intercept one of these aircraft simulating a sequence of steps NATO undertake in the event of a potential aerial threat to Allies. The fighters then proceeded to the second transport aircraft to conduct coordinated aerial precision drills such as close formation flights, escorts and intercepts. International and Polish media joined the Air Shielding event and flew on board two Polish Air Force Casa C-295 transport aircraft.
“We are primarily here in support of NATO’s Air Shielding mission. What that looks like is an enhanced posture on the eastern flank of NATO territory, not only to deter our adversaries, but also to assure our Allies that we are ready to respond to any threat, any time. Since being in the European theatre, we’ve integrated and trained with more than 10 NATO Allies which has increased our interoperability and readiness, providing this region a credible, effective deterrent in an evolving threat environment,” said Lieutenant Colonel Michael “Popeye” Kendall, 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander.
“NATO’s Air Shielding mission provides an enhanced posture that allows the Alliance to deter potential threats from the air. Air Shielding brings an unprecedented number of Allied aircraft on patrol on NATO’s eastern flank. Fighter jets are ready to deter and defend against any threat. These activities are conducted in compliance with international laws and standards,” said Brigadier General Ömer Nafiz Gülmezoglu, Deputy Chief of Staff Plans at Allied Air Command.
“Polish pilots from the 32nd Tactical Air Base in Lask performed joint missions with their Allies today. Along with the contribution of other Allies, the deployment of the F-22 in Poland is a clear expression of NATO’s commitment to readiness, which promotes security and stability in the region,” said Brigadier General (pilot) Ireneusz Nowak, Chief of the Air Force Directorate at the Polish Armed Forces General Command.
All Allied fighters participating in the event conducted a training intercept one of these aircraft simulating a sequence of steps NATO undertake in the event of a potential aerial threat to Allies. The fighters then proceeded to the second transport aircraft to conduct coordinated aerial precision drills such as close formation flights, escorts and intercepts. While the US F-22 fighters have deployed Lask Air Base since last August, it is the home base to the Polish F-16 aircraft. The US 5th generation fighter jets are contributing to NATO’s Air Shielding mission, demonstrating the transatlantic link and advance Allied capabilities and cooperation. During their deployment to Europe the F-22s are conducting regular surveillance flights and air patrols as well as training events above the region. The Italian Eurofighter detachment deployed to Malbork under NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission provides an additional capability to the Alliance to protect its airspace against potential threats. They augment the Polish MiG-29 fighters and other aircraft in the region assuring deterrence and defence along the easter flank.