Italy and Spain Deploy Eurofighter Jets in the Baltic Sea as Part of NATO Air Policing Mission
Italian and Spanish units have replaced the Portuguese, Romanian, and British air forces in the NATO Air Policing mission in the Baltic Sea, according to a statement from the Alliance.
The Portuguese and Romanian detachments in Siauliai and the Royal Air Force detachment in Amari completed their four-month rotation in guarding the airspace of NATO member countries in the Baltic Sea and handed over the responsibility to the new Italian and Spanish units, respectively.
Italy has taken over from Portugal as the lead nation for Baltic Air Policing in Siauliai, and their Eurofighter jets, after an eight-month deployment for NATO's enhanced Air Policing mission in Romania, will now safeguard the skies over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for the next four months.
This marks the ninth Italian deployment in the Baltic region, where they protect their own airspace and those of Albania, Montenegro, and Slovenia with their Eurofighter jets under NATO's Air Policing agreements.
On the same day, the Royal Air Force Typhoon detachment handed over their mission to Spanish Eurofighter jets. Spain's Air Force first deployed jets to the Baltic Sea region in 2006, supporting both NATO Baltic Air Policing and enhanced Air Policing missions—leading the mission five times and augmenting it five times—with their F-18 and Eurofighter aircraft.
The NATO Air Policing mission was established in 2004 with the primary objective of safeguarding the airspace of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. This mission is carried out by rotating NATO member countries.
In 2014, enhanced Air Policing was introduced as part of NATO's assurance measures to demonstrate collective defence and deter Russia from aggression or the threat of aggression against NATO allies.
Recently, Germany dispatched six Eurofighter jets and nearly thirty personnel to Iceland to participate in the Rapid Viking 2023 exercise under NATO's auspices. For the first time in over a decade, German aviation is now stationed in Iceland.