F-16s of Royal Netherlands Air Force land at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania
On January 2 four F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets of the Royal Netherlands Air Force landed at the Lithuanian Air Forces Base in Siauliai to serve as next rotation of the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states, according to the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania.
The Baltic Air Policing Mission will pass from the French Air Force detachment to roughly 120 airmen of the Royal Netherlands Air Force deployed from Leeuwarden and Volkel airbases in Germany, the ministry said.
It is going to be the third rotation of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltics that Dutch airmen will conduct (after the first one with F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters conducted in 2005 from Siauliai Air Base, and the second one carried out with F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft in 2014 from Malbork airbase in Poland).
Read alsoSweden brings back Cold War weapons to deter Kremlin - The TimesOn January 5 the air detachments conducting the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltics will change over at a ceremony at Siauliai Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force. After four months of guarding airspace of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the French Air Force detachment operating Mirage 200 fighters will be replaced by the Royal Netherlands Air Force detachment with F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Augmentation of the Air Policing Mission deployed in Amari Air Base (Estonia), 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.