Danish F-16s clock busy first month of Baltic Air Policing operations

Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) Lockheed Martin F-16AM MLU Fighting Falcons have been extremely busy during the first month of a three-month Baltic Air Policing deployment in Lithuania.

Performing operations from Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania, the RDAF detachment of four F-16AM (MLU) Fighting Falcons and 60 military personnel have been working around the clock to be ready to react to Eastern activity around the borders of NATO member states. 

Danish F16
A ground crew technician prepares a Danish Lockheed Martin F-16AM (MLU) Fighting Falcon for a NATO Baltic Air Policing mission. RDAF

The RDAF have been working alongside allies also on NATO Air Policing deployments such as, F-16s from the Portuguese Air Force and air assets of the hosting Lithuanian Air Force. The allies have responded almost daily to live scrambles or performed training flights. Throughout September, the RDAF and its allies made a total of 18 intercepts of military aircraft attempting to enter NATO airspace.  

The commander of the RDAF Baltic Air Policing detachment said: "The air picture over the Baltic is very dynamic, and we do not necessarily know what we will encounter until we have scrambled and, on our way to intercept an unidentified aircraft. This means that we must constantly be flexible in our way of approaching the tasks." 

RDAF F-16AM (MLU) - serial E-610 - heads out for a Baltic Air Policing training mission with allies. RDAF

This deployment marks the eighth time that the RDAF has sent its Fighting Falcons to support NATO's Baltic Air Policing initiative. However, if current plans remain on schedule, this deployment will be the last as Denmark's Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighter fleet is scheduled to take over from the F-16AM/BM (MLU) in this mission from 2025.