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Polish F-16s make Baltic air policing debut

Poland's air force has for the first time deployed its Lockheed Martin F-16s to support NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission, with the service assuming lead status for the activity on 2 May.

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Arnas Glazauskas/Lithuanian air force

Four F-16C Block 52+ multirole fighters from the 31st Tactical Air Base at Poznan-Krzesiny landed at Šiauliai air base in Lithuania on 28 April, and have taken over air policing duties from a detachment of F-16s from the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

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Arnas Glazauskas/Lithuanian air force

Accompanied by around 100 personnel, the Polish jet are to remain at the location until September. They are armed with armed Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles and medium-range AIM-120 AMRAAMs.

Warsaw's "Orlik 7" commitment represents the seventh time since 2006 that its fighters have provided air policing cover for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. All previous detachments were made using its RAC MiG-29 fighters.

Separately, the German air force has completed a double detachment lasting eight months with Eurofighter Typhoons at Ämari airbase in Estonia. The service on 3 May handed over responsibility to the Spanish air force, which has deployed five of its Boeing F/A-18As from Zaragoza air base, supported by around 130 personnel.

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