NATO air policing drills saw Polish MiG-29 and F-16 fighters, French Rafale jets and Dutch F-35 stealth jets simulating aircraft intercepts and conducting approach, handover and escort procedures.
Polish MiG-29 and Netherlands F-35 jets took off from Malbork Air Base to fly integration training in Polish airspace. Polish F-16 jets and French Rafale fighters joined them to practice multinational formation flying with two Polish C-295 CASA transport aircraft.
"The manoeuvres NATO jets conducted today are demonstrating NATO’s ability to plan, coordinate and execute combined air operations,” said Allied Air Command Deputy Chief of Staff Plans, Turkish Air Force Brigadier General Omer Nafiz Gülmezoglu. “Our Joint Force Air Component at Ramstein programmed the interaction of fighters plus transport and refueling aircraft to orchestrate this display of Allied readiness and assurance here along the eastern flank,” he added.
The Netherlands Air Force F-35 fighters are currently stationed at Malbork to execute enhanced Air Policing under NATO aegis until early April. Since end of January they have flown intercept missions and combined training manoeuvres with their counterparts from the Polish and other NATO allied air forces.
The French Rafale fighters flew in from Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, to participate in the drills; since last December they augmented NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission safeguarding skies above Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The drills also served to integrate NATO Air Power capability across different aircraft generations assuring the various fighter jets can operate together. The combined display showed NATO’s enhanced Air Policing posture and demonstrated the Allies’ contribution to the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area.