RAF Typhoons Join Baltic Air Policing Mission

 

Pilots walk to the Royal Air Force Typhoons from 6 Sqn RAF Lossiemouth as they depart for Op AZOTIZE. Sgt Keates/RAF Crown Copyright 2020

Royal Air Force Typhoon jets, based at RAF Lossiemouth,  left for Lithuania on April 28 to begin the UK’s latest NATO Air Policing mission.

The 6 Sqn aircraft are deploying to Šiauliai Air Base i where they will carry out the Baltic Air Policing mission for the summer, along with the Spanish Air Force, who will be deploying F-18 fighters. This is a core UK defence task that the RAF is able to continue in addition to supporting the NHS, and other government departments during the current Covid-19 Pandemic.

Wg Cdr Matt D’Aubyn, the Officer Commanding 6 Sqn RAF, said: “This deployment is the latest RAF contribution to NATO Air Policing. As one of four front-line squadrons at RAF Lossiemouth, we routinely conduct UK-based Quick Reaction Alert – on standby 24/7 to defend the nation’s skies. The NATO Air Policing mission in the Baltics is very similar to UK QRA, and my pilots and supporting personnel are experienced operators when it comes to completing this sort of task. Despite the difficult circumstances caused by COVID-19 we are well prepared and ready to deliver this mission.”

The 6 Sqn detachment will be augmented by other personnel from across the service to form 135 Expeditionary Air Wing, which consists of around 150 personnel who will be well equipped and trained to deliver this NATO Air Policing role.

Royal Air Force Typhoons from 6 Sqn RAF Lossiemouth depart for Op AZOTIZE. Sgt Keates/RAF Crown Copyright 2020

“The RAF has been a regular guest of our Baltic hosts; this is the sixth time the United Kingdom has deployed on this Air Policing mission,” Wg Cdr Stu Gwinnutt, Commanding Officer of 135 EAW, said.”

He added: “The RAF was the third NATO member to conduct, what was then, a new Allied Baltic Air Policing mission from Šiauliai, in 2004, and we look forward to conducting this important NATO mission. During the operation we will be demonstrating NATO’s collective resolve and assurance for our eastern allies, as well as showing that the United Kingdom remains leading NATO member that is committed to NATO operations.

135 EAW are deploying to conduct this important NATO mission despite the Covid 19 pandemic and all necessary measures have therefore been taken to ensure that both UK and Lithuanian-mandated Covid -19 precautions and countermeasure have been followed.

Text edited from RAF press release.

Three Royal Air Force Typhoons from 6 Sqn RAF Lossiemouth taxi towards the runway ready to depart for Op AZOTIZE. Sgt Keates/RAF Crown Copyright 2020

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