The French Air and Space Force has officially handed over the task of Nato’s Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission to the German Air Force.

This was marked by a ceremony conducted at Ämari Air Base (AB) in Estonia on 2 August, in the presence of military officials.

It is the 13th BAP mission led by the German Air Force fighters.

Following Germany’s takeover, four French Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets are being replaced by four German Eurofighters from Tactical Air Wing 71 ‘Richthofen’.

German Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Commander major general Harold van Pee said: “Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has severe implications for Euro-Atlantic security.

“Nato and allies have taken further action; we have introduced enhanced the Vigilance Activities in addition to Air Policing; several Allies have used Ämari base to launch and patrol skies creating a defensive shield and protecting Nato territory against potential aggression.”

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The Eurofighters will be deployed to Estonian AB under the 60th BAP rotation and will join the Hungarian Gripen fighters, leading the mission from Šiauliai AB in Lithuania, where the task was passed on 29 July.

The German and Hungarian fighter jets will also be joined by the Italian Eurofighter aircraft to provide credible and flexible capability to the alliance for protecting the regional skies above the Baltic Sea region.

The Italian Air Force’s Eurofighter jets have ceremonially taken up Nato’s mission on 1 August.

The detachment Air Task Force ‘White Eagle’ will operate from Malbork, Poland.

Following their arrival in Malbork on 28 June, the four Italian aircraft were declared ready to execute Air Policing sorties after achieving full operational capability ahead of schedule on 30 July.