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Luftwaffe Deploys Eurofighters to Latvia for Baltic Air Policing

GAF Typhoon
German Air Force Latvia
File photo of a German Eurofighter (USAF)

The German detachment involves almost 100 officers and soldiers from the Tatktischen Luftwaffengeschwader 74 (Tactical Air Squadron), and it is commanded by Oberstleutnant (Lt. Col.) Swen Jacob.

The German Air Force deployed five Eurofighter jets to Latvia on Feb. 26, 2024 to take over the Baltic Air Policing role from the Polish Air Force.

Mr. Kusti Salm, Chancellor of the Estonian Ministry of Defence, cited by NATO AIRCOM in a public statement, said that “The fragile security environment requires continuous strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and protection. We must continue to work on the implementation of new defence plans by determining the necessary forces, developing new capabilities and adapting our command structures, also adding The NATO Air Policing mission has been operating seamlessly out of Ämari for ten years already, which is a clear testimony of NATO’s determined readiness to protect the airspace of its allied countries in the Baltic Sea region and to protect every ally. This is the second time Poland participates in the mission in Ämari. I thank Lieutenant Colonel Michał Zloch and the Polish contingent of Orlik 12 for their professionalism and dedication in the successful execution of this mission.”

Lielvarde AB in Latvia will host the Baltic Air Policing component for the first time. In May 2023, when the Latvian Minister of Defense, Ināra Mūrniece, announced that NATO BAP QRA duty would be held at Lielvārde Air Base from spring to autumn of 2024. It became a temporary location for BAP, due to the runway renovation works happening at the Estonian Ämari AB that served in that role so far, complementing the BAP QRA component based in Siaullai.

According to the information released by NATO, the runway at Ämari Air Base, along with the flight line, would be undergoing routine, scheduled repairs until October. The base will still be available to host rotary wing operations. Furthermore, NATO plans to set up the German deployable Control and Reporting Centre Ämari to augment NATO’s Air Surveillance and Control architecture in the Baltic Sea region. The fast jet QRA duty is expected to continue when the construction works are finalized.

Siauliai AB, in Lithuania, currently hosts the Belgian, F-16s and French Mirage 2000-5 jets. Polish contingent on F-16s was stationed at Ämari.

Lielvarde is expected to be a temporary base.

The German BAP rotation is expected to begin on Mar. 1, 2024, following an inspection conducted by the NATO Combined Air Operations Center from Ueden. The Germans replaced the Polish Orlik 12 military contingent with 4 F-16s, commanded by Lt. Col. Michał Zloch.

About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.

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