A French Air Force Mirage 2000C fighter aircraft and a Lithuanian L-39 ZA Albatross trainer collided in mid air during a routine surveillance mission near Lithuania’s Siauliai Air Base.

The French Mirage landed in Lithuania with some damage to the aircraft stabiliser while the Lithuanian jet crashed down near Rekyva Lake. Two Lithuanian pilots and one French pilot ejected successfully and were found uninjured.

The Mirage 2000C is developed by Dassault Aviation, while Czech Republic-based Aero Vodochody produces L-39 Albatross training aircraft.

The Mirage was conducting a four-month surveillance exercise following a Nato mandate to patrol Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian airspace until 2014, as the three Baltic member states lack the capability to protect their own airspace.

Four Danish Air Force F-16 multirole fighters, expected to arrive in Siauliai today, will officially take over the Baltic air patrol mission from four French Air Force jets on 2 September.