German Eurofighters start Baltic Air Policing mission
Four fourth generation Eurofighters deployed beyond Germany's territory in a multinational mission for the first time. They will take over the Baltic Air Policing mission at Siauliai from Czech JAS 39 Gripens.
Security for Baltic airspace will be provided by Germany for the third time. Germans conducted the mission on July-September 2005 and July-August 2008, with F-4F Phantoms both times. The third shift of German Air Contingent will include 130 soldiers, mostly members of Fighter Wing 74 of German Air Force (deployed in Neuburg on the Danube). Troops in the Contingent will rotate every two to three weeks and commander - every six weeks. The first shift will be led by Lt. Col. Marc Gruene.
Since 2004 when NATO members began sending their air assets and crews to the Baltic Air-policing mission, Belgian, Danish, British, Norwegian, Dutch, German, American, and Polish contingents ensured security of airspace above the Baltic States for three months each. Since spring 2006 Turkish, Spanish, Belgian, and French troops were deployed on the mission for four-month rotation cycle, Romanian Air Contingent were in charge of the mission for three months, Portuguese Air Contingent - for a month and a half, troops of Norway, Poland, Germany and the USA - for three months, Danes and the currently leaving Czechs - for four months, the shift period also to be taken up by Germans.