A detachment of German Air Force Eurofighter fighters have arrived in Lithuania to undertake combined Quick Reaction Alert training alongside the RAF Typhoon fast jets already deployed there.
This opportunity has been arranged to enhance the current twinning programme that has been running between the two Air Forces under Eurofighter Interoperability Enhancement programme.
Wing Commander Stu Gwinnutt, the Officer Commanding RAF 135 Expeditionary Air Wing deployed to Siauliai Air Base said:
“We are really pleased to welcome our German Air Force friends here to Lithuania; to continue this cooperation is a great opportunity for learning in an operational environment.”
The Luftwaffe Eurofighter detachment commander for Tactical Fighter Wing 71 “Richthofen” (Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 71 “Richthofen”), Lieutenant Colonel Andreas Beckman will integrate his team of just 30 personnel into the EAW. Describing the deployment as: “A brilliant opportunity to learn more detailed insights of how the two forces can work together”, he said:
“Usually we are not able to fly in mixed formations, so this really offers a unique chance to enhance our capability both from a flying perspective and for our Engineers and logistics teams.”
He added “being part of this programme enhances our capability to achieve the steps towards the plug & fight concept, one of which is a conscious reduction in our footprint without a reduction in reaction times for operational output”.
The ‘Plug & Fight’ concept as a force package is the smallest contingent of personnel and aircraft, with the aim of common flight operations which can very quickly dock into an existing operations laydown of a partner nation. This concept will provide an enhanced multinational capacity to act together with European partners on current training and eventually, operations.
The Typhoons operating under 135 EAW normally operate out of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, and the Eurofighters of 71 Fighter Squadron, based in Wittmund in Northern Germany, will be taking over the Baltic Air Policing mission from Estonia later this year.