Portugal and Romania are the Allies lined up to take over Baltic Air Policing duties safeguarding and protecting Allies air space and ensuring the safety for all air users. BAP deployments demonstrate a unified Alliance and the enduring cohesion, solidarity and commitment to collective defence. During the deployment, these detachments will also have training opportunities with Allies and Partners in the area. The Portuguese detachment will be the lead nation at Siauliai Air Base, while Romania will be the augmenting nation co-located there. Both nations are flying their F-16s in this joint deployment.
“As members of the Alliance, we are determined to the same goals of promoting security and stability in the region. The Romanian F-16 detachment’s participation in enhanced Air Policing mission in Baltic states demonstrates our commitment to NATO’s 360 degrees approach to defending the Allied skies from West to East and from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. I would like to emphasize that the Romanians take such missions as an opportunity to improve interoperability and share valuable experiences, especially when engaging partners as extensively experienced as our Portuguese allies,” colonel Cosmin Vlad said.
NATO started the Baltic Air Policing after the accession of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the Alliance in 2004 with one fighter detachment stationed at Šiauliai on a rotational basis. In response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea – in 2014 – the Air Policing capability was enhanced by adding detachments to Estonia and Poland – again on a rotational basis to reassure the Allies. Since February 2022, the Alliance has increased its defensive posture on the eastern flank in addition to Air Policing. The Baltic air-policing mission is a NATO air defence Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) in order to guard the airspace above the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.