US Air Force (USAF) troops conducting the quick reaction alert (QRA) Baltic air policing mission are being replaced by a German air contingent with six F-4 Phantom fighters after four months of standby, at the Lithuanian Air Force’s Air Base in Šiauliai.

The Baltic air-policing mission is a Nato air defence QRA in order to guard airspace over the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The current, fourth, rotation of German troops comes from Wittmund Air Force Base, Germany.

It includes over a hundred troops consisting of pilots, technicians, medical personnel and communications specialists.

The major part of equipment and inventory required for conducting the mission has already been delivered to Šiauliai Air Base.

Nato countries began deploying air personnel and assets to ensure security of the Baltic skies in March 2004 when the three Baltic States entered Nato.