Aircraft providing Baltic Air Policing as seen from a privileged point of observation.
The images in this post were taken by Bartosz Bera/RBS Photos from a C-27J Spartan plane during an air-to-air photo shooting with a Portuguese Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 Hornet providing Baltic Air Policing duties from Siauliai airbase in Lithuania.
Baltic Air Polcing is a NATO-driven operation, whose aim is to provide air-assets for the Baltic States, which are unable of ensuring security within their airspaces, due to the lack of relevant fighter force.
As it may be clearly observed, due to the spike in Russian activities in the region the BAP is currently four times as strong as it was before the Ukrainian crisis.
The images were taken last year, before both the PAF and the RCAF detachment were rotated and they are particularly interesting: even though that one does not represent the standard combat configuration (which is kept confidential) the fighters were carrying live missiles on their pylons during the photo session.
BAP jets have been quite busy lately as a consequence of a surge in Russian Air Force missions in Europe’s northern and mid-eastern region. Still, no airspace intrusions within the Polish, Lithuanian or Latvian territories have been noted.
Nonetheless, in his report for Interia.pl, Bartosz Bera explained that in case of Estonia the situation has been different: although quite short (just some seconds) intrusions by Il-20 spyplanes have been recorded nearby the Vaindloo, Osmussaare, Hiiumaa and Saaremaa islands.
Image Credit: Bartosz Bera/RBS Photos