Spain handed over responsibility for allied airspace security in the Baltic States to Poland
The handover ceremony of the 'Ambar' detachment took place after four months of deployment at the Ämari air base (Estonia). The Eurofighter (C.16) aircraft of the Air and Space Force have been relieved by F-16 aircraft of the Polish Air Force, as part of the regular rotations carried out by NATO countries to ensure the security of the allied airspace and collective defense.
The handover was carried out in a solemn ceremony chaired by the Estonia Minister of Defense, Hanno Pevkur, and attended by the Spanish Ambassador in Estonia, Guillermo J. Corral Van Damme, as well as various civilian and military authorities: personnel from NATO Allied Air Command, Operations Command of the Defense Staff, Estonian Air Force and Spanish Air and Space Force, among others. NATO decorations of the Baltic Air Force were awarded to the detachment personnel on the occasion of the ceremony.
Brigadier General Fernando Martín Pascual, Deputy Brigadier General from the Operations Command, made a speech during the ceremony, thanking especially the Estonian Air Force and the Ämari Air Base, which has supported and contributed to the Spanish air detachment has achieved the objectives.
The eight Spanish Eurofighters flied more than 800 hours since the start of the mission, on August 1, 2023, including more than twenty 'alpha scrambles' or early response alerts, demonstrating in real missions of interception and identification of aircraft, that did not comply with international flight standards, showing the ability to respond for collective defense and deterrence.
In the same way, the Spanish Eurofighters, during their deployment in Estonia, they have taken part in several multinational maneuvers, among them Furious Wolf, Ramstein Alloy or Neptune Strike. They have also conducted several close air support missions, with tactical control of several allied countries, as well as collaborations with the Spanish Army anti-aircraft artillery units in Latvia and Estonia.
On the other hand, German Eurofighters from Luftwaffe joined the detachment for ten days and conducted the combined air police alert service (QRA), thanks to the interoperability of the allied weapon systems.
As part of this deployment, from August 12 to September 17, an A400M aircraft from the 31st Wing was integrated into the Amber detachment to provide in-flight refueling capability to Spanish Eurofighters and other aircraft from allied countries.