The UK in Baltic Defense: The View from Moray, Scotland


The RAF is participating in the current Baltic Air Policing effort with Spain and France.

An article by Sean McAngus published on June 26, 2020 by The Press and Journal highlighted the role of RAF Lossiemouth aircraft in the effort.

Crews from RAF Lossiemouth based at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, are carrying out a Nato Baltic Air Policing mission along with the Spanish Air Force and French Air Force.

Moray Typhoon jets are leading 150 personnel from all over the UK in the peacetime mission that is being run until August 31.

It involves aircraft being ready to scramble 24 hours a day to monitor unidentified or enemy aircraft approaching Nato airspace.

Wing Commander Stu Gwinnutt, 135 EAW commander, says that these missions help grow relationships with NATO allies over a longer time.

The RAF are providing a “credible layered defence” of Nato airspace to prevent any “aggressive acts” similar to the annexation of Crimean in 2014 by the Russians.

He added: “The UK’s commitment to Nato is really important and it is great to provide the capability that is expected of us.”

“It is also a opportunity to work with allies while on ops as normally we just come together for an exercise for a week or two.

“In this deployment, we are there for four months so we can establish relationships and share where appropriate.

“We all learn from each other in this mission.

“Working with allies is really important in building bridges and sharing our experiences.”

And Moray’s contribution to the defense of the Polish through Baltic and Nordic North Atlantic defense zone is going up as the P-8s operate from RAF Lossiemouth as well. 

As we noted in a 2017 article:

“In effect, an MDA highway being built from Lossie and the F-35 reach from the UK to Northern Europe are about shaping common, convergent capabilities that will allow for expanded joint and combined operational capabilities.

“At this is not an add on, but built from the ground up.

“Flying the same ISR/C2/strike aircraft, will pose a central challenge with regard to how best to share combat data in a fluid situation demanding timely and effective decision-making?

“The UK is clearly a key player in shaping the way ahead on both the P-8 and F-35 enterprises, not just by investing in both platforms, but building the infrastructure and training a new generation of operators and maintainers as well.”

The featured photo shows a Russian surveillance plane being shadowed by an RAF Typhoon. SAC Iain Curlett/© MOD Crown Copyright 2020

For our earlier study which focused on the transformation of RAF Lossiemouth, see the following: