Air-to-Air with the Hungarian Gripens involved in the Baltic Air Policing Operation

Up close and personal with the HuAF Gripens.

Taken by Filip Modrzejewski, editor in chief of the Foto Poork website, these amazing photos show two of the Hungarian JAS-39M Gripen jets taking part in the Baltic Air Policing operation as seen from a Lithuanian C-27J Spartan.

The mission of patrolling the Baltic skies has been intensified by NATO since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis amid growing tensions with Russia. The main aim of the operation is to bolster and expand the air defense capabilities of the Baltic Republics (Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia), that are in possession of limited military inventory and unable to guard their sovereign airspace alone.

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This rotation of the Baltic Air Policing deployment began on Aug. 31.

Hungary acts as the lead nation, operating its jets from the Šiauliai airbase, while additional support is being provided by the German Eurofighters, stationed – as usually – at the Ämari airbase in Estonia.

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As Filip Modrzejewski told us, this photo-shoot was especially challenging, since the airspace was cloudy up to FL240, and the only gap between the cloud layers could have been found at 4 000 feet, where the pictures were taken.

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The plan foresaw that the Gripens would be joined by the German Eurofighters, flying from Amari, however the Germans joined the formation briefly before leaving again for their deployment base where the weather was quickly deteriorating. The Luftwaffe’s jets were forced to return to Estonia at a supersonic speed!

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Images Credit: Filip Modrzejewski (Foto Poork)

About Jacek Siminski 283 Articles
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.

11 Comments

  1. These missions are quite a joke and both sides know it. So the Russians should monitor the weather above the NATO bases and adjust its attack timing based on that. It reminds those swiss f-18 not flying after office hour. Modern air defense of the western block is just an expensive toy keeping some people busy and some others feeling important… luckily it is not required anymore.

    • Nice display of your ignorance.

      The BAP is a 24/7 operation.

      When you’re done playing with your toys, go read up on the Russian oppression they inflicted on the Baltic states.

      There’s a reason ALL the ex-Warsaw Pact countries joined NATO….

      Modern air defence (and the rest of the military) is needed to keep Russia from INVADING your country, just like they did to the Ukraine and Georgia.

    • Why is the weather relevant? The article says that the photoshoot was challenging and that the weather at the German base was bad. There is no mention of any hindering to operations because of weather.

  2. the gripen rules! hungary choose the right aircraft… financial constraints will force other nations to aquire more capable and less costly fighters in the future

  3. You know – often systems designers try to duplicate what we see in nature. Submarines became more torpedo-like (like fish) to improve underwater performance. Structures of airframes became more honeycombed for strength (like the bones of birds, when looked at under a microscope, are honeycombed for lightness and strength). Which brings me to canards vs. tails. I don’t like canards. Must be some reason why you don’t see canards in nature. After all – how many birds have canards??? : )

    Tails are better!

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