The Czech Air Force has completed a four-month air policing stint over the Baltic area.

The air force formed part of the Nato quick reaction alert (QRA) team and operated from a Lithuanian air base.

The Nato air-policing mission began in March 2004 in the Baltic States when Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia entered Nato.

The air force had deployed two Gripen fighters on 24-hour standby, ready to be in the air within 15 minutes of an alert, and had completed 400 flight hours and 336 sorties during their rotation.

Czech Air Force Detachment commander major Jaroslav Mika said that he was proud that they had achieved being in two different locations in with a total of 14 aircraft and 18 QRA ready pilots on Nato QRA.

“We always try to use QRA for training purposes. We do not have many limitations, only that we are not allowed to touch the trigger since we are carrying live missiles,” he said.

The Czech Gripen pilots faced 120-160 training scrambles with four aircraft each day.

During the Czech rotation, eight Alfa scrambles were recorded, and live incidents compared to the regular two training scrambles performed every work day.