The Italian Eurofighter Typhoons supporting NATO’s Baltic Air Policing integrated with one of the U.S. B-1B Lancer bombers deployed to Norway.
On March 3, 2021, two U.S. B-1B Lancer bombers from the 7th Bomb Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, currently deployed to Orland, Norway, as part of Bomber Task Force 21, launched a mission in areas “including the international airspace of the North and Baltic Seas.”
The flight included integration with Danish F-16s, Polish F-16s and Baltic Air Policing Eurofighter Typhoons belonging to the Italian and German Air Force. In particular, one B-1 and Typhoons also conducted a low-fly over Riga, Latvia; Vilnius, Lithuania; and Tallinn, Estonia.
“The combined mission was flown over Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The US-NATO formation conducted fly-bys near the three Baltic Capitals of Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn to demonstrate NATO’s presence, readiness, and commitment to the transatlantic link within the Alliance,” NATO Allied Air Command explained in a statement.
The Italian Air Force Typhoons escorted the B-1B during the segment the BONE (from “B-One”) flew over Lithuania and Latvia; whereas the German Air Force Eurofighters escorted the bomber over Estonia.
“The event was a great opportunity for the Italian aircrew to train with the US assets, a chance to further increase the cooperation among NATO allies ,” said Colonel Daniele Donati, Commander of the Italian Detachment. “In addition to such interoperability missions, we are proud to provide our national contribution to the defence and the integrity of the NATO Airspace within the Baltic Air Policing mission framework.” Since Sept. 1, 2020, the Italian Air Force has the lead of the NATO BAP mission. On Sept. 8, the Task Force Air “Baltic Thunder” and its four 4x F-2000A Typhoons, belonging to the 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo (Wing), have achieved the FOC (Full Operational Capability), providing H24 QRA duties in the Baltic. Also deployed in the region, as “augmentees” supporting the BAP mission from Amari, Estonia, are the German Air Force Eurofighters.