The Spanish Air Force assumed command of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission in early May, helping ensure the safety of the skies over the Baltic region.
While NATO continues to take all the necessary measures to protect the armed forces, operational readiness remains undiminished. Forces remain ready, vigilant and prepared to respond to any threat.
The Spanish Air Force assumed command of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission in early May. Since then, their detachment’s six F/A-18 Hornet fighters – augmented by Typhoons from the UK Royal Air Force and Mirage 2000 fighters from the French Air Force – have flown training sorties and interceptions over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Air policing scrambles can be triggered when civilian or military aircraft flying over or near Allied air space fail to respond to air traffic controllers, or respect safe aviation norms. NATO has established air policing arrangements for Allies without their own fighter jets. NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission began in 2004, when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the Alliance.
This NATO footage, captured at Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania between 19th and 21st May 2020, includes shots of training scrambles flown by Spanish fighters, shots of French Mirage 2000 fighters and an interview with the detachment commander.
- (00:00) Spanish pilots suiting up for scramble
- (00:09) Pilot running from barracks into van
- (00:20) Pilot running from van to F/A-18 Hornet fighter
- (00:47) Pilot running to Hornet
- (00:54) Spanish ground crew and pilot preparing for take-off
- (01:34) Spanish Hornet departing hangar
- (01:42) Hornets departing hangar and taxiing for take-off
- (02:14) Hornets taking off
- (02:31) Hornets taking off and in flight
- (03:07) Hornets flying in formation with French Air Force Mirage 2000 fighters
- (03:31) Hornets landing at Šiauliai Air Base
- (03:34) Hornets landing and taxiing
- (04:19) Hornet taxiing towards hangars
- (04:35) Spanish pilot saluting as he passes
- (04:43) Hornet entering hangar
- (04:58) pilot and ground crew ending scramble
- (05:17) Flag patches of all NATO nations that have participated in Baltic Air Policing
- (05:22) Commemorative signs outside headquarters
- (05:27) Spanish flag waving
- (05:31) sound-bites (English) Lt. Col. Jesús Gutiérrez Gallego, Baltic Air Policing detachment commander, Spanish Air Force: “The final purpose of the Baltic Air Policing is guaranteeing that all air traffic that use the airspace of the Baltic region comply with the laws regarding a safe use of airspace.” “What makes this mission so special is that a good number of the scramble missions that we fulfil over here in this region end up by intercepting Russian aircraft.” “We intercept not only Russian aircraft but any other air track which is unknown, whenever it is unknown and doesn’t follow the rules of the air, regarding safe use of the airspace.”