Tag Archives: Policing

NATO Air Policing Fighters Intercept Russian Aircraft over the Baltic Sea

By on Monday, October 27th, 2014

NATO radars detected and tracked one unidentified aircraft flying in the vicinity of Allied airspace in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, 21 October at approximately 9 a.m. CET. Fighter jets from NATO Ally Denmark (F-16) were scrambled, as were Portuguese F-16 aircraft from NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission in order to identify the aircraft and maintain the security of Allied air space. Non-NATO fighters from Sweden were also involved in the intercept.

The aircraft was identified as a Russian IL-20 (intelligence collection aircraft). The Russian IL-20 took off from Kaliningrad and commenced flying over the Baltic Sea towards Denmark. The Russian aircraft was first intercepted by Danish F-16’s and as the IL-20 headed further north it was intercepted by fighters from Sweden. The Russian aircraft headed south again and Portuguese F-16’s were scrambled. At 12:53 p.m. CET the IL-20 approached Estonian airspace from the northeast. The Russian aircraft entered Estonian airspace near the island of Saaremaa for a period of less than one minute, which represented an incursion of about 600 meters into NATO airspace.

Portuguese F-16s made visual contact with the IL-20 and escorted it until it was further away from NATO airspace. NATO jets assigned to the Baltic Air Policing Mission were available throughout the duration of the Russian flight and the IL-20 was continually tracked using Allied assets on the ground and in the air.

Scrambles and intercepts are standard procedure when an unknown aircraft approaches NATO airspace. However, such flights pose a potential risk to civil aviation given that the Russian military often do not file flight plans, or use their on-board transponders. This means civilian air traffic control cannot detect these aircraft nor ensure there is no interference with civilian air traffic. NATO Allies protect their airspace on a 24/7 basis and NATO tracks all flight activities over Europe.

NATO air defence efforts are focused on stopping unauthorized incursions into NATO airspace and on preventing acts of airborne terrorism.

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RAF Deploys Typhoon Jets to Bolster NATO Air Policing Mission

Four Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft deployed today to take part in the NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

As announced to the House of Commons by the Defence Secretary in March, the UK fast jets will reinforce the Polish contribution to the BAP – a standing defensive mission undertaken by rotations of aircraft from contributing nations on a four month cycle.

The deployment forms part of a series of measures taken by NATO to support and reassure its Eastern member states.

Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond MP, said:

“In the wake of recent events in Ukraine, it is right that NATO takes steps to reaffirm very publicly its commitment to the collective security of its members. As a leading member of NATO, the UK is playing a central role, underlined by today’s deployment of RAF Typhoon aircraft to Lithuania. This, alongside the other action we are taking, will provide reassurance to our NATO allies in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states.”

As part of standing arrangements within NATO, members of the Alliance without their own air policing assets are assisted by others. It is on this basis that the BAP mission has existed since 2004.

The RAF’s Typhoon FGR4, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and RAF Leuchars in Fife, is also used to provide air policing within UK airspace as part of the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) and in the Falkland Islands. A multi-role combat aircraft, it is capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations, from air policing through to high intensity conflict.

This Typhoon deployment comes six weeks after the UK Sentry E-3D AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft), which is part of the NATO AWACS Force, was deployed to Polish and Romanian airspace to provide additional reassurance to Allies.

Background Information
Following the North Atlantic Council held on 16 April 2014 NATO Secretary General Rasmussen announced that NATO was taking measures to enhance BAP.

Baltic Air Policing (BAP) is a standing NATO task undertaken by rotations of typically four Air Defence Fighter Aircraft from contributing nations on a four month rotation. It is purely a defensive mission.

BAP encompasses the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The Baltic countries do not have Air Defence Fighter Aircraft and therefore, NATO nations undertake the task of securing NATO’s airspace over the Baltic nations. The US is currently filling the mission rotation. The US has taken a unilateral decision to provide 6 additional US Voluntary National Contribution Air Defence assets (F-15C).

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Hungarian Aircraft to Perform Air Policing Over Slovenia, Baltic States

By on Friday, November 16th, 2012

Under the terms of a NATO agreement, the fighter aircraft of the Hungarian Air Force will perform air policing over Slovenia and the Baltic States in the near future, Minister of Defence Csaba Hende announced at an event held in Miskolc on Tuesday, November 13.

The Minister of Defence said that the Hungarian Gripens are going to guard Slovenia’s airspace soon, while they are expected to participate in the Baltic Air Policing between 2015 and 2018.

Like Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia do not have air forces. On their accession to NATO, it was decided that instead of the costly development of air forces and procurement of aircraft, Slovenia and the Baltic states would focus on other units of their armed forces and declare them to the North Atlantic Alliance.

As the airspaces of these states must be defended and guarded too, this task will be carried out by the aircraft of the Hungarian Air Force, Minister Hende said.

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