Belgium replaces Italy in Estonia for NATO Air Policing

Italy handed the Baltic Air Policing (BAP) baton at the start of December to Belgium, after a record-breaking detachment period.

Italy has served the NATO Air Policing role for a record participation period of 15-months. The deployment was titled Baltic Eagle II by the Italian Air Force. The Italian Air Force’s Air Policing participation saw them cover the skies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. with both 4th and 5th generation aircraft.

Handover ceromony
The out going Italian and incoming Belgian detachments stand in formation during their hand over take over ceremony. Estonian Air Force

Earlier this year, in May, Italian F-35As from 32° Stormo deployed to Ämari Air Base, Estonia, which was the first ever 5th generation fighter deployment in the NATO BAP mission series.

Italian Eurofighter Typhoon F2000-As took over from the F-35As from mid-September and now Belgium and four of its F-16A/B MLUs will take on the responsibility of protecting the Baltic skies from non-compliant aircraft.

The Belgian Air Force has been a six-time lead nation of NATO Air Policing and they have performed BAP at Ämari Air Base twice before. Approximately 60 Personnel from both the 10th and 2nd Tactical Wings of the Belgian Air Force will be supporting the missions.