Italy Deploys F-35s To Poland For NATO Deterrence Mission

F-35 Poland
Two Italian F-35 jets arrived at Malbork, Poland, in the afternoon of September 13, 2023. With two more jets arriving soon, Italy will contribute to NATO's enhanced Air Policing in the region supporting Deterrence and Defence. (Photo by Stefano Lulli, Italian Air Force)

In addition to the Air Policing duties, the F-35 aircraft are also scheduled to take part in exercises.

Two Italian Air Force F-35A aircraft of the 32°and 6° Stormo (Wing), soon to be followed by two more aircraft, arrived at Malbork Air Base in Poland on September 13, 2023. The Lightning IIs will patrol the skies over the European eastern flank as part of the NATO deterrence and defence mission.

“The deployment of modern 5th generation fighter aircraft to Poland – just half a year after the end of a similar deployment by Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 – demonstrates NATO’s ability to forward position advanced fighter capabilities in a flexible manner,” said Major General Gianluca Ercolani, Chief of Staff at Allied Air Command. “It is another proof of the fact that Allies are operating integrated by design under efficient air command and control arrangements to execute meaningful deterrence and defence along the eastern flank”.

Italy, which was the first  to deploy F-35s to a NATO mission in 2019, has been regularly deploying the fighters for Air Policing missions, trailblazing the integration of modern 5th generation aircraft into Alliance air operations alongside the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“By providing our 5th generation fighter aircraft to NATO, we underscore that Italy is fully committed to supporting the Alliance’s collective enduring missions”, said Lieutenant Colonel Ciro Maschione, Commander of the Italian F-35 Detachment “Task Force Air – 32° Wing”. “Since 2019, the Italian Air Force has seamlessly deployed their F-35s to NATO Air Policing and Air Shielding missions in Iceland and Estonia – as a matter of fact our Eurofighters are leading the 63rd rotation of NATO ‘s Baltic Air Policing in Lithuania in parallel to this F-35 deployment”.

The Italian Air Force F-35s will conduct familiarization flights and will establish a full operational capability in the coming days after the deployment of the others two F-35s, said the press release. Besides joining Polish and other regional fighters in flying NATO Air Policing missions, they are also scheduled to contribute to flexible training missions the Alliance conducts under its enhanced Vigilance Activities.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.