Royal Air Force Augments NATO Baltic Air Policing in Lithuania

Returning to Siauliai Air Base after six years, the Royal Air Force will augment NATO’s peacetime mission here with a 150 strong Typhoon detachment conducting another deployment of Operation AZOTIZE.

“The RAF has been a regular guest of our Baltic colleagues, this is the sixth time the United Kingdom has deployed on this Air Policing mission. The RAF was the third NATO member to conduct what was then a brand-new Allied mission of Baltic Air Policing here at Šiauliai, in 2004, I look forward to commanding the latest RAF detachment to conduct this important NATO mission, where we will demonstrate NATO’s collective resolve and assurance for our eastern Allies, As well as showing that the United Kingdom remains a leading NATO member that is reliable and well-connected.” 

Wing Commander Stu Gwinnutt
RAF detachment commander

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, demonstrating Allied cooperation, interoperability and cohesion. 

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 Centres 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.