The Hungarian Air Force’s Gripen fighters have carried out a control task in Lithuanian airspace, marking their first mission after taking the lead role in Nato Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission.
During the mission, a pair of Gripen aircraft completed a training flight at an altitude of 150m, at a speed of around 500km/h, while Hungarian Defence Forces’ airmen stationed at Siauliai Air Base carried out their quick reaction alert (QRA) duties.
Recently, the Hungarian Air Force took the lead role in the BAP mission, replacing the Royal Norwegian Air Force.
Currently, Hungary and Germany are guarding the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for four months in the mission.
The Hungarian detachment will be responsible for responding to real-life and training alerts, such as Alpha scramble and Tango scramble respectively.
Hungary has deployed four JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft and more than 100 personnel including pilots, maintenance personnel, logistics specialists in order to support the mission.
The country is the 16th Nato ally to assume this task. The new development marks the 39th rotation of Baltic air policing mission and will commence duties by the end of this year.
Hungary will guard the airspace of the three countries again in May-August 2019.
Nato allies started sending military personnel and aircraft to guard Baltic states’ skies in March 2004. In spring 2014, the allies strengthened protection of the Nato airspace after the Russian annexation of Crimea.
Image: Two Hungarian fighters. Photo: courtesy of Péter SNOJ.