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RAF Typhoons return to Lithuania after six years for air policing mission

RAF Typhoon fighter jet
Royal Air Force file photo

Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets have returned to Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, to augment NATO’s air policing mission as part of the British operation Azotize.

A 150 strong Typhoon detachment has returned to Siauliai after six years of absence.

Formed around number 6 Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, the Typhoon detachment is augmented by specialist personnel from across the RAF to ensure that the detachment is able to operate and meet its operational taskings.

The RAF have previously deployed to the Baltic region during 2014, 2016, 2016 and 2019 as a the second air policing detachment under enhanced Air Policing. Additionally, the RAF has conducted NATO AP missions in the skies of Romania and Iceland.

NATO’s air policing is a peacetime collective mission safeguarding the integrity of the allies’ airspace. All Allies contribute to this collective mission bringing a system of radar sites and air surveillance and control units as well as fighter aircraft together under the coordination of Allied Air Command.

Via its two combined air operation centers at Uedem, Germany, and Torrejon, Spain, the allies have successfully cooperated and ensure one single standard of air policing across NATO airspace in Europe. Allies without necessary air capabilities of their own e.g. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are integrated into air policing by deploying allied fighter detachments.