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 Deployments and operations

NATO's BALTIC AIR POLICING (BAP)

Delivering Air and Space Power for the Alliance
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NATO takes its responsibility to ensure integrity, safety and security of its airspace very seriously. For member nations that do not have the necessary air capabilities, agreements exist to ensure a single standard of security across European NATO airspace.

As its three Baltic members Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia don't have the required aircraft assets to contribute to NATO Air Policing over their own territories, Alliance members provide the necessary capabilities for them.

The Baltic Air-Policing mission is purely defensive, which aims to tackle the air defence constraints of the Baltic countries.

NATO's MISSION

Allies take turns deploying to air bases at Šiauliai, Lithuania and Ämari, Estonia, on a four-month rotational basis, ready to be launched by NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, Germany if required. The Air Forces of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia contribute to the mission with host nation support in the form of air command and control infrastructure and personnel.

Providing equal protection to all its member countries is an important measure to demonstrate Alliance solidarity, resolve and collective defence not only to current members, but also to our partner nations and future potential members.

When the three Baltic States joined NATO in 2004, a NATO Air Policing capability was established at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania. In 2014, after Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, a second Air Policing presence was established at Ämari Air Base, Estonia under NATO’s Assurance Measures to its Eastern Allies.

Fighter aircraft assigned to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission are often launched to visually identify Russian Federation Air Force aircraft. A high proportion of Russian Federation Air Force flight activity is due to the geographical situation of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad; Russian Federation Air Force aircraft regularly fly from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad and vice versa. They often approach or fly near NATO airspace without using transponders, communicating with Air Traffic Control or having filed a flight plan.

Spain's involvement

Spain, as an active and committed member of the Alliance, regularly participates in it. Although it was the focus of public interest as a result of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014, its participation has been developing continuously since 2004.

Spain contributes with several fighter planes, and the entire contingent is known as "Vilkas Detachment".

In addition to air assets, the Spanish Air Force deploys around 150 airmen within the contingent, which makes all the maintenance, logistic, surveillance and control tasks of the Detachment possible.

Depending on the unit deployed, Spain contributes to the security of the Baltic countries with F-18 and Eurofighter "Typhoon" aircraft. Spain usually takes part in the deployment between April and September.

Mandate

 

The Baltic Air-Policing mission (BAP) is part of the Alliance´s collective effort in monitoring the airspace of its members, particularly those of the three Baltic republics, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The allied deployment in North Eastern Europe is developed under the NATO mandate within the framework of allied collective defence.

In June 2015, the Supreme Allied Headquarters for Europe (SHAPE) asked Spain to participate on the Baltic strengthening operation.

Background

The NATO Air-Policing mission in the Baltic began in 2004 following the admission of the Baltic States into NATO. This implied the extension of the allied airspace in north eastern Europe, bordering Russia. Since Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania lack a combat air force that will allow them to fulfil the surveillance and control tasks over their territory as well as Quick Reaction Alert missions or scramble. For this reason, they need support from the rest of Allied countries.

Following the start of the Ukrainian crisis at the beginning of 2014 and the increasing entrance of Russian planes into Baltic airspace, the mission has been reinforced with more planes in each of the three countries and two additional deployment bases: Amari, in Estonia, and Malbork, in Poland.

The Spanish Air Force participated for the first time in the Baltic Air-Policing mission in 2006 with four 14th Wing Mirage F-1 deployed in Siauliai.

2020

  • September 1. "Destachment Vilkas" ends its deployment.
  • July 2. Spanish crews take over after two months deployed in Lithuania.
  • April 30. Six EF-18 and 130 airmen from the Spanish Air Force made up Detachment 'Vilkas 2020', taking Mission's command for the third time.

2019

  • August 31. Completion of the “Vilkas19” detachment deployment at Lithuania.
  • May 2. Spanish “Vilkas19” detachment in Lithuania, as part of the Baltic Air Policing (BAP), together with its fighter aircrafts EF18 from Wing 12, begin his rapid response mission from the Siauliai Air Base till August 31, 2019.

2018

  • September 1: Completion of the deployment of six Eurofighters from Wing 11.
  • May 1: The Spanish Vilkas detachment, together with six Eurofighters from Wing 11, operates from the Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania.
  • April 25. Six Eurofighter planes from Wing 11 took off Morón Air Base to take part in the Baltic Air Police Mission in Lithuania. Wing 11 and its Eurofighters take part for a second time in a BAP mission. This time, deployment will last until the end of August.

2017

  • September 6. Completion of the deployment of five aircrafts from Wing 15.
  • May 3: The Spanish Ámbar detachment, with five aircrafts EF-18 from Wing 15, operates from the Ämari Air Base in Estonia.

2016

  •  May 4. Completion of the deployment of four aircrafts from Wing 14.
  • January 4. Four Eurofighters from Wing 14 arrive to Vilkas detachment.
  • January 1. Spain leads the mission until May. Vilkas detachment conducts the operation from Lithuania.

2015

  • May 4. Completion of the deployment of four Spanish Eurofighters.
  • January 19. First interception of a Russian military aircraft by a Spanish fighter aircraft
  • January 1. Ámbar detachment begins operation.

2014

  • December 29. Four Spanish Eurofighter arrive to the Amari Base.
  • June 3. The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe requests Spain to take part in the support of the operation.
  • March. Beginning of the crisis in Ukraine. The operation to strengthen the air space of Baltic countries starts with the additional deployment of four other fighter aircrafts F-15C Eagle from the United States.

2006

  • November 30. Completion of the deployment of four Spanish aircrafts Mirage F-1.
  • August 1. Four Spanish fighter aircrafts F-1 from Wing 14 are deployed.

2004

  • March 30. The Operation with four multirole fighters from Belgium begins.
  • March 29. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania join the Atlantic Alliance.

EMAD PRESS RELEASES ON NATO'S BALTIC AIR POLICING

  • Detachment “Vilkas” concludes Baltic Air Policing mission

    Detachment “Vilkas” concludes Baltic Air Policing mission

    Detachment “Vilkas” concludes Baltic Air Policing mission

    2020/09/01

    Šiauliai (Lithuania)

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  • Detachment 'Vilkas' takes part on a seminar about women´s role within the framework of NATO operations

    Detachment 'Vilkas' takes part on a seminar about women´s role within the framework of NATO operations

    Detachment 'Vilkas' takes part on a seminar about women´s role within the framework of NATO operations

    2020/08/10

    Vilnius, Lihtuania

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  • The president of the republic of Lithuania visits detachment 'Vilkas'

    The president of the republic of Lithuania visits detachment 'Vilkas'

    The president of the republic of Lithuania visits detachment 'Vilkas'

    2020/07/28

    Šiauliai, Lithuania

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  • Spanish EF-18´s crews has handed over within NATO´s  Baltic Air Policing

    Spanish EF-18´s crews has handed over within NATO´s Baltic Air Policing

    Spanish EF-18´s crews has handed over within NATO´s Baltic Air Policing

    2020/07/02

    Šiauliai (Lithuania)

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  • STAFF FROM OPERATION 'ENHANCED FORWARD PRESENCE' IN LATVIA VISIT DETACHMENT 'VILKAS'

    STAFF FROM OPERATION 'ENHANCED FORWARD PRESENCE' IN LATVIA VISIT DETACHMENT 'VILKAS'

    STAFF FROM OPERATION 'ENHANCED FORWARD PRESENCE' IN LATVIA VISIT DETACHMENT 'VILKAS'

    2020/06/16

    Šiauliai (Lithuania)

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