The British Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Typhoon fighter aircraft from XI(F) Squadron based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire have touched down in Estonia to support the Nato Baltic Air Policing mission.
Four Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon jets arrived at the Ämari Airbase in Estonia to take part in a four-month Nato mission to protect Baltic airspace.
121 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) commanding officer wing commander Dave Boreham said: “As part of its assurance measures Nato has committed to protect Estonian airspace and the UK as a fully committed Nato partner regularly undertakes a turn of this duty.”
RAF aircraft will take over from German Typhoons to protect Nato airspace. The British fighters will be ready to scramble if required to protect airspace at all times.
Explaining how QRA worked, Squadron leader Jamie Norris said: “Crews are on permanent readiness to respond to any potential threat and can be scrambled on a 24/7 basis. Our role is to preserve peace and prevent conflict.”
121 EAW includes personnel mainly drawn from RAF Coningsby. It also comprises multiple branches and trades needed to ensure support to four aircraft for several months during overseas operations.
Norris added: “Aircraft can be launched in a very short space of time; the role we are carrying out is identical to that performed by Typhoons back in the UK from their Coningsby or Lossiemouth bases.”
RAF Typhoon squadrons are deployed regularly in support of Nato Air Policing missions. The squadrons last operated from Estonia in 2016.
Last month, Typhoon fighters were scrambled to intercept two Russian Blackjacks sighted over the North Sea.