The French air force detachment has assumed Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) operations in Poland, following its deployment on request from Nato to protect the territorial integrity of the airspace of Baltic countries.
The detachment includes 70 soldiers with four French air force Rafale combat aircraft, which have been stationed at Malbork air base in Poland since 28 April.
As part of its operations, which started from 6 May, the French detachment will serve as a back-up of the Baltic Air Policing mission rotation from May to September and will deploy its aircraft immediately in an emergency.
The deployment of Rafale fighter jets is part of France’s reassurance measures to show its support towards its Eastern European allies and to defend the Baltic States territory against any air threat and protect against illegal aircraft flying in their airspace.
During the deployment, the French detachment will also conduct training missions alongside Polish air force.
Deployed for the first time to ensure an ongoing operational mission in a foreign country, Rafale can be immediately launched within minutes at any time of the day in the event of any suspicious activity.
In addition to Rafale, the French air force has been deploying E-3F AWACS aircraft since 1 April to support Nato surveillance missions of Polish and Romanian airspace at its Avord air base in central France.
Earlier on 24 April, the air force deployed a precursor detachment containing 60 military personnel and several equipments.
Image: A French air force Rafale aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Capt. Jason Smith.