Baltic Air Policing: RAF Jets Intercept 17 Russian Aircraft
British Typhoon fighters involved in the Baltic Air Policing operation, throughout the recent week, have been scrambled six times to intercept the Russian aircraft.
According to the RAF, during the last week, the Russian jets have violated the airspaces of the Baltic states 17 times. As it is assummed within the framework of the Baltic Air Policing initiative, when the airspaces of the countries that are protected by the NATO air assets are threatened or violated, two Typhoon fighters will be immediately scrambled, in order to identify the potential threat.
Portugal and Great Britain currently remain responsible for protecting the airspaces above the Baltic states. RAF has deployed four Typhoon jets from the 140th Expeditionary Air Wing, to carry out the air policing operations in the region. The said aircraft are currently stationed at the Estonian Ämari airbase. Portuguese F-16 fighters are, on the other hand, operating from the Lithuanian airfield in Siauliai.
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Baltic Air Policing operation has been initiated by NATO back in 2004, in order to implement the rule of indivisible security, meaning that no member state is obliged to rely solely on national defence assets and finances, in order to act against the potential threats, since the remaining member states would provide a relevant amount of support and countermeasures, required to maintain a proper level of national security.
The operation began in March 2004, it is being carried out in a rotational manner. RAF is involved in the Baltic Air Policing activities for the fourth time already. The sorties are being flown by the Typhoon FGR.4 fighters during the current rotation. After the annexation of Crimea took place, the operational activities undertaken within the framework of the initiative were expanded, more than one country is involved in maintaining the security within the Baltic airspaces. During the peak period of the operation, four nations were involved in it at once. The jets providing the air policing capacity were additionally stationed at the Polish Malbork airbase.