Baltic Air Policing and Russian Intrusions: Dutch F-16s Engage


2014-12-14 The Baltic Air Policing mission has been a regular one for NATO.

The latest Air Policing mission was set in motion in early September 2014.

According to Gaerth Jennings of Jane’s in a September 8th 2014 story:

The Netherlands has contributed fighter aircraft to the current Baltic Air Policing Mission, NATO announced on 8 September.

Five Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) will operate alongside aircraft from Canada, Germany, and Portugal.

According to NATO, the RNLAF will operate out of Malbork in northern Poland, relieving four French Air Force Rafale fighters that had been stationed there on the previous rotation. Previously, the alliance had suggested that these Rafales might be replaced by four Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) F-16s once their air policing duties at Amari Airbase in Estonia were complete at the end of August.

With the Dutch contribution, the current Baltic Air Policing Mission now comprises six Portuguese Air Force (Força Aérea Portuguesa – FAP) F-16s and four Boeing F/A-18 (CF-18/CF-188) Hornets of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) flying out of Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania, six German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons at Amari Airbase, and six RNLAF F-16s in Poland.

This current rotation is set to continue through to the new year. NATO has not disclosed for how long the augmented Baltic Air Policing Mission will continue, saying only that “decisions regarding whether to continue with an enhanced air policing presence in the region will be made in due time”.

And a recent video released by the Dutch Ministry of Defense highlights a recent Russian intrusion into Baltic air space with Dutch F-16s in the interceptor role.

December 10, 2014: Two Dutch F-16s from the Baltic Air Policing Mission intercepted two Armed Russian Sukhoi SU-34s.

And this story was published on October 31, 2014:

NATO scrambled fighter jets twice in two days to intercept Russian military aircraft over the Baltic Sea, it said Tuesday amid reports that Russian military activity in the region is increasing.
Lt. Col. Robert Gericke said the Russian aircraft were flying in international airspace and had not violated the territory of alliance members.
Two Canadian F-18 Hornet jets were scrambled from the Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania on Monday to intercept a Russian Ilyushin-20 surveillance aircraft, which they shadowed for some 15 minutes, NATO said. 

“Once identification was successful, the intercept mission was completed and the two Hornets returned to their base,” a NATO statement said. 

Earlier, the Latvian military tweeted that NATO F-16 jets were dispatched on Tuesday to intercept a Russian Ilyushin-20 surveillance aircraft over the Baltic Sea.

Gericke confirmed that NATO jets had also intercepted a Russian aircraft that day, but could not immediately provide more details. 

In the past five days, the Swedish Navy has been combing the Stockholm archipelago for signs of a foreign submarine that officials suspect entered its territorial waters illegally. It hasn’t officially linked Russia to the suspected intrusion.