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German Eurofighters patrol the Baltic skies from Latvia

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German Eurofighters assigned to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission have scrambled 10 times to intercept Russian aircraft since deploying earlier this year.

Synopsis

For the first time, NATO Air Policing jets are flying out of Latvia.
A detachment of German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons are currently based at Lielvarde Air Base, where they’re tasked with ensuring the safety and security of the airspace over and around Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Since deploying earlier this year, the German fighters have intercepted Russian aircraft flying over the Baltic Sea 10 times. NATO aircraft assigned to the Baltic Air Policing mission, regularly intercept Russian aircraft when they don’t use transponders to identify themselves or fail to respond to hails from air traffic controllers, meaning they appear on radar simply as an unidentified contact. NATO air commanders often order scrambles to identify the radar track, observe its behaviour and ensure that it does not pose a threat to NATO Allies.
The Baltic Air Policing mission is led from Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania, where the Spanish and Portuguese Air Forces currently have fighters deployed. An additional nation usually covers the Baltic Sea from Ämari Air Base in Estonia, but fighters are temporarily stationed in Latvia while the Estonian Air Force improves the runway.
Shots include Eurofighter Typhoons conducting a demonstration scramble during a media day, and an interview with German Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Swen Jacob, Detachment Commander, Baltic Air Policing.

Transcript

---SHOTLIST—
(00:00) WIDE SHOT – GERMAN AIR FORCE EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON TAKING OFF IN LATVIA
(00:11) VARIOUS GOPRO SHOTS – GERMAN EUROFIGHTERS IN FLIGHT
(01:15) VARIOUS SHOTS – EUROFIGHTERS LANDING
(01:19) VARIOUS SHOTS – EUROFIGHTERS TAXIING ON RUNWAY
(01:38) VARIOUS GIBAL SHOTS – EUROFIGHTER PARKED ON TARMAC AND EUROFIGHTER TAXIING ON RUNWAY
(02:33) SOUNDBITE (English) German Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Swen Jacob, detachment commander, Baltic Air Policing
‘This is the first time that we’re working out of Latvia doing the Air Ppolicing mission. We have done the Air Policing mission out of Siauliai in Lithuania, and we have done the mission out of Ämari in Estonia, but this time we’re in Latvia, here in Lielvarde, and working from here is the perfect place for the mission to run.’

(02:54) SOUNDBITE (English) German Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Swen Jacob, Detachment Commander, Baltic Air Policing
‘The Air Policing means we are ready here and sitting to be sent out when NATO is calling for us. Whenever an aircraft is flying into Baltic airspace, or is flying into international airspace not behaving to the rules that are stuck out there by international law, then we will be sent out and escort those aircraft, see what kind of aircraft it is, what they are doing, which registration they have, and we send out signals so everybody knows there’s an aircraft flying.’

(03:25) SOUNDBITE (English) German Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Swen Jacob, detachment commander, Baltic Air Policing
‘We’ve been here for about one and a half months, now. We’ve been called for 10 times already, so it happens quite regularly that one, two, maximum three times a week we are being called, and that is always the case when the Russian aircraft flying in international airspace do not adhere to the rules. They either do not talk to the authorities, or do not send out a transponder signal, and that is a danger for all the aircraft flying around there. That’s when we are called upon and then fly up there. We escort those aircraft, send out a signal, and make the airspace safe for that.’

(04:01) SOUNDBITE (English) German Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Swen Jacob, detachment commander, Baltic Air Policing
‘It’s a strong signal that we are here, that we are in the Baltics, that we are all over NATO, and not every country has enough money to buy their own fighter aircraft, which is perfectly OK. That’s why we work together in NATO. Some nations have certain capabilities. Other nations have other capabilities, and we put them together, and by putting them together we have a strong position, and can help each other out. Here for example, in Latvia, they have the possibilities to give us the airfield, or work from this airfield. They have also measurements and means to look in the sky, identify aircraft, but we don’t have fighter jets here. That’s why Germany or other nations are coming here, because we spent already the money for the fighter aircraft, and when we need a policeman up there in the air to do the policing work, that’s when we’re flying.’

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Reference
NATO934329
ID
2237