Aerial Warfare

Poland Hands Over NATO Enhanced Air Policing Mission to Germany

50
×

Poland Hands Over NATO Enhanced Air Policing Mission to Germany

Share this article
Poland Hands Over NATO Enhanced Air Policing Mission to Germany
Poland Hands Over NATO Enhanced Air Policing Mission to Germany

The Estonian Air Force bade farewell to the Polish Air Force detachment after successfully achieving their mission in support of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing for the Baltic States. In a formal ceremony at Ämari Air Base, the Estonian Air Force awarded achievement medals recognising their service for the protection of the Baltic airspace. Polish Air Force F-16s are a frequent sight in the skies above the Baltic Sea region as they demonstrate their commitment to NATO’s collective security. Due to runway construction work at Ämari Air Base, the Polish detachment handed over the mission to a German Air Force Eurofighter detachment that will now guard the Baltic airspace from Lielvarde Air Base in Latvia. In order to ensure the continued safe operations out of Ämari Air Base, the runway, which has been in use since 2010, as well as flight line infrastructure will undergo scheduled repair that will last to October 2024.

“Cooperation with the Polish contingent has been good for Ämari Air Base and our entire Air Force. The F-16 detachment has completed their task of ensuring the integrity of Estonian and NATO airspace in an extremely exemplary manner,” said Lieutenant Colonel Maanus Nigul, commander of Ämari Air Base.

“The fragile security environment requires continuous strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and protection. We must continue to work on the implementation of new defence plans by determining the necessary forces, developing new capabilities and adapting our command structures. The NATO Air Policing mission has been operating seamlessly out of Ämari for ten years already, which is a clear testimony of NATO’s determined readiness to protect the airspace of its allied countries in the Baltic Sea region and to protect every ally. This is the second time Poland participates in the mission in Ämari. I thank Lieutenant Colonel Micha? Zloch and the Polish contingent of Orlik 12 for their professionalism and dedication in the successful execution of this mission,” said Mr. Kusti Salm, Chancellor of the Estonian Ministry of Defence.

Estonia bade farewell to the Polish F-6 Orlik 12 detachment during a formal ceremony at Ämari Air Base, Estonia on February 28.
Estonia bade farewell to the Polish F-6 Orlik 12 detachment during a formal ceremony at Ämari Air Base, Estonia on February 28. (Photo by Estonian Defence Forces)

During this time, the base will remain open for Allied helicopters and for several months, a German deployable Control and Reporting Centre will also be set up here to augment NATO’s Air Surveillance and Control architecture in the Baltic Sea region. When the construction work is finished aircraft of NATO allies and Estonia will again operate from here. According to the decision of the North Atlantic Council, the air forces of NATO members have protected the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on a rotating basis since March 29, 2004, when the Baltic States joined the Alliance. The main air base for the Baltic Air Policing mission is at Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania. During NATO’s 2012 Chicago summit, the North Atlantic Council extended the Baltic Air Policing mission indefinitely underscoring the collective approach to preserving the integrity of NATO airspace and the solidarity among Allies in achieving security and protection.

Enhanced Air Policing is part of NATO’s Assurance Measures introduced in 2014, after Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of the Crimean peninsula. The Alliance implemented these Assurance Measures with the goal to demonstrate the collective resolve of Allies, demonstrate the defensive nature of NATO and deter Russia from aggression or the threat of aggression against NATO Allies. They are flexible and scalable in response to fluctuations in the security situation facing the Alliance and send a strong, unambiguous message to the public. As part of these Assurance Measures, NATO’s Air Policing mission is enhanced across two Implementation Areas. NATO members are authorized and encouraged to provide additional assets to the Alliance supplementing existing Baltic Air Policing capabilities in the northern Implementation Area and, in parallel, augmenting national Air Policing capabilities in the southern Implementation Area.

The Polish F-16 Detachment Commander (centre), shanking hands with the German commanders of the Eurofighter detachment (left)  and the Deployable Control and Reporting Centre (right).
The Polish F-16 Detachment Commander (centre), shanking hands with the German commanders of the Eurofighter detachment (left) and the Deployable Control and Reporting Centre (right).(Photo by Estonian Defence Forces)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *