ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --
The 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, belonging to the 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, handed over the reigns for NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission to Denmark at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Jan. 8.
Leading the 45th rotation of the policing mission, the 493rd EFS F-15C Eagles partnered with Belgian air force F-16s. During this four month deployment, the NATO jets were scrambled in the Baltics almost 60 times.
The 493rd EFS specifically, conducted approximately 30 intercepts over the course of the deployment. Intercepts are a regular occurrence and the pilots conduct them in a safe and professional manner.
The four F-15Cs dedicated to the BAP mission completed a total of roughly 3,000 alert hours, over 170 sorties and 300 flying hours.
Unassociated with the policing mission, additional jets were deployed in an effort to maintain unit training. In total, the 493rd EFS completed more than 560 flight hours and 270 training sorties.
NATO’s Air Policing mission has been executed continuously since April 2004 in the Baltic States, and illustrates the ability of the Alliance to share and pool existing capabilities.
Denmark took the lead with their F-16s for the 46th rotation, starting Jan. 9. This is the Danish air force’s sixth time leading the BAP mission.
The U.S. Air Force continuously works side-by-side with European allies and partners to meet future security challenges. Participation in the Baltic Air Policing mission embodies the U.S. commitment to NATO while also ensuring the integrity of Allied airspace.