Polish MiG-29 Fighters Headed towards Lithuania. President Receives a Request
The Council of Ministers has submitted a request to the Polish President, asking for using a Polish Detatchment in NATO, which is to take care of securing the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian air spaces – Polish Prime Minister's Office informs. Scope of the activity within the Baltic Air Policing mission has been expanded due to the Ukrainian crisis.
Polish ORLIK 6 task force will take part in air policing mission within the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian airspaces. The unit will consist of 120 soldiers and members of the military, equipped with 4 MiG-29 fighters, with all the needed equipment and armament – as the Prime Minister’s Office states.
The next deployment of PKW ORLIK 6 detachment will last from 12th January until 30th April 2015. Due to the time needed to deploy the unit in the area, the realistic period of using the detachment will start on 22nd December 2015 and it is going to last until 15th May 2015. The Polish fighters will be deployed to Šiauliai AB, Lithuania.
When it comes to the financial dimension of deploying the jets needed to protect the air spaces of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, amount of PLN 9 million has been allocated from the defence budget in order to realize the task.
Aim of the Baltic Air Policing mission is to patrol and prevent airspace intrusions over the Baltic states and providing help to military and civilian aircraft in emergency situations. It is realised in a form of four-month rotational watch, with NATO member states serving from Lithuanian bases. The Polish Armed Forces have been involved in Baltic Air Policing five times so far – in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 – as the Prime Minister’s Office states.
In the light of the Ukrainian crisis, NATO decided to reinforce the security measures for the airspace of the Baltic states. Not only are the NATO fighters, starting from may this year, stationed in Lithuania, but also in Estonia and Poland. Šiauliai AB is a home for a reinforced detachment, consisting of forces coming from two NATO member states. At the moment the mission involves Portugal, Canada, Germany and Holland. F-16 fighters of the RNLAF are deployed to Malbork AB, Poland.