Home Air UK 5th-Gen fighters join US, Dutch counterparts for NATO eastern flank patrols

UK 5th-Gen fighters join US, Dutch counterparts for NATO eastern flank patrols

RAF F-35B on NATO patrols
Photo: Royal Air Force

Royal Air Force F-35B fighter jets have landed at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, from where they will be supporting NATO’s enhanced air policing mission on the alliance’s eastern flank.

The F-35B Lightnings from RAF Marham, UK joined other allied 5th generation fighters provided by the US Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force who are taking part in air patrols over Eastern Europe. The Dutch and US F-35A aircraft arrived at Ämari, as well as Lithuania’s Siauliai Air Base, and Romania’s Fetesti Air Base in late February.

This activity provides air policing of NATO airspace ensuring a robust and integrated shield for Allied airspace and contributing to the security of Europe.

“The F-35 is an incredibly capable and versatile aircraft. Operating alongside the Typhoons they are maintaining the integrity of the European airspace and contributing to the NATO mission,” said Group Captain Philip Marr, Station Commander, RAF Marham. “The 5th generation fighter is a world beating aircraft which can simultaneously provide information warfare, intelligence gathering and Air-to-Air missions.”

This new deployment will see the aircraft based alongside Belgian F-16s where they will be better postured to support the ongoing NATO mission. They will join other Allied 4th and 5th Generation fighters carrying out patrols over Polish and the Baltic States’ airspace.

In addition to the F-35B jets, the Royal Air Force contributed Typhoon FGR4 aircraft for enhanced Vigilance Activity (eVA), a new NATO led operation initiated due to the unfolding events in Ukraine.

Operating from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, the Typhoons are patrolling NATO airspace over Poland and Romania.