United States and Belgium safeguard the airspace of NATO’s Baltic Allies
For the next four months, the United States and Belgium will conduct NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, safeguarding the airspace over the region. At a ceremony on Tuesday (5 September 2017), Belgium took over the supporting role from Spain, operating out of Ämari, Estonia. The United States assumed the lead role at Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania on 30 August.
Belgium is conducting the mission with F-16 jets, and the United States is conducting the mission with F-15C jets. The US is leading the Baltic Air Policing mission for the fifth time, and Belgium is participating for the sixth time.
Allies have been taking turns in safeguarding the Baltic airspace since 2004, when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined NATO. Since then, seventeen Allies have participated in 45 rotations of the Baltic Air Policing mission, which is an expression of the solidarity among NATO members.