The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Scared by 'Unpredictable Neighbor': Belgium Starts Defending Estonian Skies

Sputnik News

19:06 07.01.2016(updated 19:08 07.01.2016)

The Belgian Air Force commenced policing mission to 'defend Baltic skies' in the framework of 'defense organization' NATO's rotating schedule.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Belgium has taken over the Baltic Air Policing mission during a ceremony at the Estonian Amari Air Base, Estonia's General Staff said on Thursday.

'NATO is a defense organization that can protect us in any climate. A good example of this is the mission to defend Baltic skies, which sends a message from our NATO allies to both our population and to our unpredictable neighbor,' Estonia's Defense Minister Hannes Hanso said during the ceremony.

Belgium, as well as Spain, is to patrol the Baltic states' skies in 2016 as part of the rotating NATO mission. Four Spanish Eurofighter Typhoon jets are deployed to Latvia, while Belgian F-16 jets are deployed to Estonia, Latvia's Defense Ministry said late December.

The new mission takes over from German and Norwegian Eurofighter Typhoon jets that had been deployed to the Baltic states from September 2015.

The three Baltic states comprising Latvia, Estonia and neighboring Lithuania do not possess air patrol capabilities. Since joining NATO in 2004, the three Baltic countries' airspace has been controlled by a rotating NATO mission.

NATO's main base in the Baltic region is located at the Zokniai Air Force Base in Latvia, while the Estonian Amari Air Base has been used by the alliance since 2014.


Join the mailing list