The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has deployed four Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft to participate in the Nato Baltic air policing mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
As announced by the UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond to the House of Commons in March, the deployment forms part of a series of initiatives taken by Nato to support and reassure its eastern member states.
Specifically, the fighters are expected to reinforce the Poland’s contribution to the Baltics Air Policing (BAP) mission, a standing defensive mission undertaken by rotations of aircraft from participating countries on a four-month cycle.
Hammond said the UK is playing a central role, underlined by the deployment of RAF Typhoon aircraft to Lithuania, as a leading member of Nato.
Hammond said, "This, alongside the other action we are taking, will provide reassurance to our Nato allies in eastern Europe and the Baltic states.
"In the wake of recent events in Ukraine, it is right that Nato takes steps to reaffirm very publicly its commitment to the collective security of its members."
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The Typhoons, which will be stationed at Nato’s air base in Siauliai, Lithuania, along with a detachment of Polish Mig-29 fighters, will be joined by approximately 100 RAF support personnel over the next few days, reported The Telegraph.
Based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and RAF Leuchars in Fife, the Typhoon FGR4s that are heading for the Baltics, are also used to provide air policing within UK airspace as part of the ‘Quick Reaction Alert’ and in the Falkland Islands.
The deployment comes six weeks after the UK dispatched its Sentry E-3D aircraft to Polish and Romanian airspaces, as part of the Nato Airborne Warning and Control System Force, to provide additional reassurance to its allies.
Image: A Royal Air Force Typhoon taking off from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, UK. Photo: Senior Aircraftman Chris Ellis, Crown ©.