The Polish Air Force has deployed four MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters to Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, to support the Nato’s Baltic air policing mission.
The aircraft, along with more than 100-strong Polish contingent from the 23rd Tactical Minsk-Mazowiecki Air Base, Poland, will reinforce the mission carried out by the Italian Air Force using four Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.
Italy took over the responsibility of the mission from the Portuguese Air Force earlier this month.
The Polish contingent has been manned according to a model similar to the Italian contingent to include pilots, engineers, medical personnel, provision elements, specialists of communications, and other areas.
This latest deployment represents the sixth time Polish Military will be ensuring the security of the Baltic airspace, having completed its most recent rotation as the lead nation of the assignment from May to August 2014.
The current rotation of the mission is also supported out by the Spanish Air Force with Eurofighter Typhoons from the Amari Air Base in Estonia, and Belgian soldiers with F-16s from Malbork, Poland.
Baltic air policing (BAP) is a Nato air defence quick reaction alert mission aimed at protecting the airspace over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which lack the means to provide air policing of their territory.
The mission is being conducted by military personnel of 15 Nato allies since 2004 when Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania joined the alliance.
Nato allies have been contributing additional air assets to the mission to implement the alliance’s reassurance measures since April 2014, in response to crisis in Ukraine.
Image: A MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter of the Polish Air Force. Photo: courtesy of Ministry of National Defense Republic of Lithuania.