A NATO mission to intercept Russian planes in the Baltic republics

The fast takeoff of Spanish EF-18 and French Mirage 2000 fighters in a BAP mission

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led NATO to reinforce its Baltic Air Policing (BAP) missions at the Šiauliai (Lithuania) and Ämari (Estonia) bases.

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At the end of March, the Spanish Air Force deployed eight EF-18M Hornet fighters at the Lithuanian base, within the framework of the Vilkas Detachment. It is Spain's largest contribution to this mission, which aims to provide air defense to the small Baltic republics, which lack their own fighter planes to deal with the frequent incursions of Russian planes, which fly through the area in violation of international aviation regulations, with the transponder turned off and without communicating their flight plans, in a constant attitude of provocation.

In turn, on March 13, the French Armée de l'Air deployed 4 Mirage 2000-5F fighters at the Estonian base. France already had four fighters of the same type a year earlier deployed to Ämari. These BAP missions are done in 4-month rotations, with different NATO countries contributing fighters to each rotation.

A few days ago, the YouTube channel Interesting Productions showed what the fast takeoff of the Spanish EF-18 and the French Mirage 2000 from these Baltic bases. These quick takeoffs are carried out when a Scramble alert is received to intercept Russian aircraft. Allied fighters have to be airborne within 15 minutes of receiving the alert:

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