As Romania’s LanceRs bow out, their F-16s made their Baltic Air Policing debut for NATO. Joris van Boven and Alex van Noije report from Lithuania
Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania has become a symbol of NATO’s collective determination to defend European airspace in the Baltic region. The Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission began in 2004 when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ascended to NATO membership and is a quick reaction alert (QRA) tasking to guard their national airspace. After a decade of operations at the Lithuanian air base, the mission was expanded to other airfields in the region – Ämari in Estonia and Malbork in northern Poland – in May 2014.