Tag Archives: Eurofighter Typhoon

Polish Fulcrums join Italian Typhoons to provide NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission

Polish Air Force Mig-29s once again deployed to Lithuania for Baltic Air Policing.

According to a press release issued by the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense, four Polish MiG-29 Fulcrums have deployed to Šiauliai airbase, Lithuania, in order to augment the NATO presence provided within the scope of Baltic Air Policing Mission.

The Polish jets are set to join the Italian Eurofighter Typhoons, already stationed in Lithuania, with the leading role within the mission. The reinforcement of Baltic Air Policing is a part of the NATO reassurance program, which has been taking place with the aim of providing additional air-assets for the states in the region since Apr. 2014. The reinforcement operation is directly linked with the Ukrainian crisis and the growing Russian presence in the Baltic region.

Polish MiGs come from the Minsk Mazowiecki 23rd airbase, along with over 100 military. Last time the Poles took part in the Baltic Air Policing was between May and August last year, which (notably) happened in the early days of the Ukrainian crisis.

During that deployment the Polish AF had the role of leader of the operation. It’s the sixth time the Polish MiG-29 jets are called to monitor the airspace over the Baltic states which are not in possession of their own airspace monitoring capabilities.

The Polish fighters will act under command of Lt. Col. Piotr Iwaszko, who is also the pilot flying the Polish MiG-29 demonstration act during the airshows all around Europe.

According to the General Command of the Armed Services of Poland, the main task which is to be fulfilled by the Fulcrums is to prevent any intrusion within the airspace of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. Secondly the jets are to provide support for military and civilian aircraft in emergency situations.

It is worth noting, that this is the 37th rotation which is taking place within the BAP operation since the very beginning of the mission, which started back in March 2004. At that date the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined the NATO alliance.

As a consequence of the Ukrainian crisis, NATO largely reinforced its presence in the Mid-Eastern Europe, not only in Lithuania. Just recently, Spanish Eurofighter Typhoons have deployed to Estonia, while on Jan. 8. the Belgian F-16 fighters have arrived at Malbork, Poland to replace the Dutch Fighting Falcons stationed there.

 

Top image credit: Pawel Duma via http://www.airpolicing.wp.mil.pl

 

These are the first pictures of the Italian Typhoon jets providing NATO Baltic Air Policing in Lithuania

Italy has taken over the role of lead nation in the NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP).

On Dec. 29, four Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets deployed to Siauliai airbase, in Lithuania, to take over the lead role of NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from the Portuguese Air Force F-16s beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.

Polish MiG-29s and Spanish Eurofighters deployed to Šiauliai, Lithuania, and Ämari, Estonia, respectively; they will replace four CF-188s of the Royal Canadian Air Force, four German Air Force Eurofighters out of Ämari, Estonia. The four Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s out of Malbork, Poland will replaced by the Belgian Air Force F-16s.

With their first participation to the BAP, Italy has become the very first nation to provide air policing tasks over four foreign airspaces: Iceland (on rotation), Slovenia, Albania (task shared with the Hellenic Air Force) and Baltic States.

The Italian Typhoons landed at Siauliai carrying 3 external fuel tanks, 3 IRIS-T and 4 AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles: an interesting, heavy, configuration.

Aircraft providing BAP, in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) at their deployment bases are often scrambled to intercept, identify and escort Russian Air Force planes (including spyplanes and bombers) flying in international airspace close to the airspaces of Baltic States and NATO countries.

Typhoon BAP side
Image credit Eduardas Kuznecovas

 

Argentina to get Russian Su-24 Fencer attack planes; UK to review Falklands air defenses

UK may be forced to review Falkland Islands air defenses to face a renewed threat in South Atlantic.

According to a report in the Daily Express newspaper, the Argentine Air Force is to get a dozen Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer attack planes from Russia in return for foodstuff.

As a consequence, the UK Ministry of Defense is in the process of reviewing the Falkland Islands air defenses, as the delivery of the supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft ahead of the delivery and full operating capability of the two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers could pose a  threat to the islands, referred to as “Malvinas” by the Argentine.

According to Jane’s, the islands current air defenses include four Eurofighter Typhoon jets, Rapier SAM (Surface to Air Missile) systems, along with about 1,200 troops permanently stationed in the South Atlantic base.

Even though the Typhoons are modern enough to deal with a dozen Su-24s, the Soviet-era twin-engined two-seater planes with a variable geometry wing with a combat radius of 615 km in lo-lo-lo profile, are able to perform ultra-low level surface and maritime strike missions, carrying a wide variety of General Purpose as well as Laser Guided Bombs and stand-off missiles, such as the Kh-31 (AS-17 “Krypton”) anti-radiation and anti-shipping sea-skimming missiles.

We don’t know whether the potential deal includes armament; still the possible delivery of Su-24s to Argentina makes the Falkland Islands a bit more vulnerable to an attack by the Fuerza Aérea Argentina than it will be until the FAA operates a fleet of aging Mirage III or A-4 Skyhawks, the same jets defeated by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy during the Falklands War.

Image credit: Alexander Mishin

 

Italian Eurofighter Typhoons ready to take over lead role in NATO Baltic Air Policy

Four Italian Air Force Typhoons will provide Baltic Air Policing duties from Siauliai airbase, Lithuania.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the Italy will take over the role of lead nation in the NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP).

Four Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets will deploy to Siauliai airbase, in Lithuania, where they will relieve the four Portuguese F-16s at their second rotation at the eastern border of NATO.

Currently committed to the operation are also four CF-188s of the Royal Canadian Air Force, as well as German Air Force Eurofighters out of Ämari, Estonia, and Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s out of Malbork, Poland that will replaced by Polish MiG-29s and Spanish Eurofighters scheduled to deploy to Šiauliai, Lithuania, and Ämari, Estonia, respectively.

Aircraft providing BAP are regularly scrambled to intercept, identify and escort Russian Air Force planes (including spyplanes and bombers) flying in international airspace close to the airspaces of NATO countries.

With the participation to the BAP, Italy will become the very first nation to provide air policing tasks over four foreign airspaces: Iceland (on rotation), Slovenia, Albania (task shared with the Hellenic Air Force) and Lithunia.

 

Mystery surrounds video showing Alitalia flight escorted by two German Eurofighters

A quite unusual sight for the passengers of an Alitalia Airbus 320 from Amsterdam escorted by two German Eurofighters for about 20 minutes.

A video of two German Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets escorting an Alitalia flight has emerged after some passengers reported that their plane, on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Rome Fiumicino, had been flanked and escorted by German warplanes.

Indeed, the footage, filmed with a smartphone shows the two Typhoons shadowing the civil plane.

Based on Flightradar24.com logs, the civil liner, an Airbus A320 registration EI-DSM, took off from Schipol at about 12.20 PM LT, climbed at 35,000 feet and crossed the German airspace flying more or less over Dusseldorf, Cologne, the west of Frankfurt and Stuttgard.

According to Fabio Guccione, owner of a travel agency in Palermo, who talked to several media outlets: “Someone asked the hostess to have information from the pilots about the reasons of the “escort”. But after a few minutes the flight attendant came back saying that the captain did not want to say anything.”

Civilian planes are escorted by interceptors when they lack diplomatic clearance to cross a sovereign airspace, for bomb threats, radio failures and, generally speaking any time the local Air Defense, usually after coordinating the intercept with nearby radar centers and ATC agencies, decide to perform a so-called VID (Visual Identification) of a plane to verify its identity, adherence to the filled FPL (Flight Plan) etc.

Sometimes, air defense radars ask (through the relevant ATC agency) flights passing through their sector whether they would be willing to be intercepted for training purposes; still, such requests are addressed to other military aircraft and not to civil planes, whose passengers could be scared by the sight of two (usually) armed combat planes.

Image credit: Eurofighter

H/T to Giuseppe Stilo for the heads-up