Great Britain and Germany will jointly monitor the airspace over the NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which border Russia. The combined operation of the German Air Force and the British Royal Air Force in Estonia should begin today, the two sides announced.
The so-called fully integrated operation with armed and unarmed protection and training flights is said to be the first of its kind. German and British Eurofighters are to patrol the sky in mixed squads, as a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said when asked by the dpa.
Effort reduced on both sides
In August 2022, Germany took over the so-called "NATO Air Policing Baltic States" - for a total of nine months. For this purpose, five "Eurofighters" and around 150 German soldiers are stationed at the Ämari military airport. In March, they are to secure the airspace together with the British Air Force for the first time before Great Britain takes over the lead from Germany in April. According to the spokesman, the interlinked flight operations and the joint maintenance of the machines reduce the technical and logistical effort for both NATO partners. The interoperability also increases the value of use.
"Today is an important first for our two air forces. We have been working together for a while, but our cooperation has now reached a new level," said a British commander involved, Scott Maccoll, according to a statement from London. "It remains a great pleasure to work with our German allies in all aspects of our mission - from maintenance and repair of the jets to planning and logistics."
Allies take turns deploying fighter jets
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania do not have their own air defenses. That is why NATO has been protecting the Baltic airspace since 2004. To this end, the allies are regularly relocating fighter jets and personnel to the Baltic Sea states in north-eastern Europe. "The main task is to identify and escort Russian military aircraft," said the Defense Ministry spokesman. Germany is currently taking on the task in Ämari for the ninth time.