Eurofighter detachments from the German and Spanish Air Forces have jointly carried out Nato’s enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission for the first time.
Conducted as part of a ‘plug-and-fight’ concept, the mission involved the integration of the German detachment’s 140 personnel with around 60 personnel from the Spanish Air Force, at Ämari Air Base in Estonia.
Together the German-Spanish forces operated a total of nine Eurofighter aircraft.
During the eAP operation, Nato’s northern Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Uedem in Germany ordered the launch of the fighter jets.
One Eurofighter, each from German and Spanish Air Forces, then conducted a combined sortie to identify and escort a non-Nato aircraft above the Baltic region.
Spanish Detachment commander major Miguel Ángel López García said: “With these combined alert missions, we have achieved great success as a result of teamwork and thanks to the interoperability of our advanced weapons system.
“Shared maintenance has reduced the logistics footprint, deploying fewer personnel and material by each country for this type of operation, and twice the joint operability of the Eurofighters has been generated than would have been obtained if both countries had worked separately.”
This mission also marked the first time the German Air Force, a Eurofighter user nation, provided smaller spare parts as well as guided missiles, arms and ammunition for the weapons aboard the Spanish aircraft.
Moreover, the German tank trucks also provided fuel to the Spanish force aircraft.
A detailed case-by-case review was conducted at times when instant replacement, support or exchange was not possible, as both nations use different Eurofighter versions.
The three weeks of this combined flying mission allowed the forces to enhance cooperation and interoperability.