RAF Typhoon jets based in Moray have headed to Lithuania to begin the UK’s latest Nato air policing mission.
The 6 Squadron aircraft are deploying to Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania where they will carry out the Baltic Air Policing mission for the summer along with the Spanish Air Force, who will deploy F-18 fighters.
It is a core UK defence task that the RAF is able to continue in addition to supporting the NHS, and other UK Government departments during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wing Commander Matt D’Aubyn, the officer commanding 6 Sqn RAF, said: “This deployment is the latest RAF contribution to Nato air policing. As one of four frontline squadrons at RAF Lossiemouth, we routinely conduct UK-based quick reaction alert (QRA), on standby 24-7 to defend the nation’s skies.
“The mission in the Baltics is very similar to UK QRA and my pilots and supporting personnel are experienced operators when it comes to completing this sort of task.
“Despite the difficult circumstances caused by Covid-19 we are well prepared and ready to deliver this mission.”
The 6 Squadron detachment will be augmented by other personnel from across the service to form 135 Expeditionary Air Wing which comprises about 150 personnel.
Wing Commander Stu Gwinnutt, commanding officer of 135 Expeditionary Air Wing, said: “The RAF has been a regular guest of our Baltic hosts. 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 new Allied Baltic Air Policing mission from Šiauliai, in 2004. And we look forward to conducting this important NATO mission.”
The Typhoon FGR.Mk 4 is an agile fourth-generation multi-role combat aircraft that can be deployed for the full spectrum of air operations including air policing, peace support and high intensity conflict.
Although Typhoon has flown precision attack missions in all its combat deployments to date, its most essential role remains the provision of quick reaction alert for UK and Falkland Islands airspace.
Detachments also continue to join Nato air policing missions in the Baltic, Iceland and Black Sea regions.