493rd EFS patrols Baltic airspace

A pilot from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron glances in the direction of his wingman prior to a Baltic Air Police sortie at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31, 2017. The U.S. presence for the current Baltic Air Policing mission comes at the request of its Baltic allies and further demonstrates its commitment to the security of fellow NATO nations. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

A pilot from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron glances in the direction of his wingman prior to a Baltic Air Police sortie at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31, 2017. The U.S. presence for the current Baltic Air Policing mission comes at the request of its Baltic allies and further demonstrates its commitment to the security of fellow NATO nations. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

An Airman from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron aircraft maintenance unit signals to his team that an F-15C systems check is complete at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31, 2017. The 439rd EFS AMU ensures that all aircraft are ready at a moments notice to meet the needs of the NATO Baltic Air Police mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

An Airman from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron aircraft maintenance unit signals to his team that an F-15C systems check is complete at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31, 2017. The 439rd EFS AMU ensures that all aircraft are ready at a moments notice to meet the needs of the NATO Baltic Air Police mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

A pilot from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron conducts a pre-flight inspection of his aircraft prior to a Baltic Air Police sortie at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31, 2017. The 493rd EFS will conduct routine patrols in the Baltic region for the next 120 days, maintaining a constant vigil over the sovereign airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.(U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

A pilot from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron conducts a pre-flight inspection of his aircraft prior to a Baltic Air Police sortie at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31, 2017. The 493rd EFS will conduct routine patrols in the Baltic region for the next 120 days, maintaining a constant vigil over the sovereign airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.(U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

An Airman from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron aircraft maintenance unit conducts an F-15C systems check prior to a sortie at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31, 2017. The 439rd EFS AMU ensures that all aircraft are ready at a moments notice to meet the needs of the NATO Baltic Air Police mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

An Airman from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron aircraft maintenance unit conducts an F-15C systems check prior to a sortie at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31, 2017. The 439rd EFS AMU ensures that all aircraft are ready at a moments notice to meet the needs of the NATO Baltic Air Police mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

A pilot from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron signals that he is good-to-go to his wingman prior to a sortie at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31, 2017. The 493rd EFS will conduct routine patrols in the Baltic region for the next 120 days, maintaining a constant vigil over the sovereign airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

A pilot from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron signals that he is good-to-go to his wingman prior to a sortie at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31, 2017. The 493rd EFS will conduct routine patrols in the Baltic region for the next 120 days, maintaining a constant vigil over the sovereign airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

ŠIAULIAI AIR BASE, Lithuania -- Days after the United States Air Force took the lead of NATO Baltic Air Policing, the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron geared up to fly the first sortie of the fifth U.S. rotation at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 31.

Air policing is a standing NATO peacetime task designed to preserve the integrity of allies' sovereign airspace, while enhancing professional relationships and improving coordination between NATO allies and partners during times of crisis.

“We're [NATO] on the forty-fifth rotation of air policing events in this region, a staple of peace and security,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, NATO Allied Air Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, earlier this week.

The U.S. presence for the current Baltic Air Policing mission comes at the request of its Baltic allies and further demonstrates its commitment to the security of fellow NATO nations. In recognition of the fact that no single nation can confront today’s challenges alone, the need for allies and partners to work together to meet future security challenges is paramount.

The 493rd EFS will conduct routine patrols in the Baltic region for the next 120 days, maintaining a constant vigil over the sovereign airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.