Dutch aviators with four F-16 fighter-jets will take over the NATO Baltic air-policing mission conducted from the Šiauliai air base in Lithuania, the Alliance said.
F-16 fighter-jet
© KAM

The Dutch airmen will replace their French counterparts at the changeover ceremony scheduled to take place in Šiauliai on Thursday. Among participants of the event should be Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis, Acting Chief of Defence Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras and French and Dutch troops.

A German contingent with four Eurofighter Typhoons will stay in Estonia for another shift of air-policing mission.

NATO launched the Baltic air-policing mission in 2004 after the Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined the Alliance and did not have sufficient capacities to guard their skies. Until 2014, the mission was conducted from the Šiauliai base only, however was expanded in response to the Russian actions in Ukraine.

NATO fighter-jets in Lithuania close 2016 with calm week

The last week of 2016 was calm for fighter-jets of the NATO air-policing mission in Lithuania, as they were not scrambled over Russian warplanes flying above the Baltic Sea, the Defence Ministry said on Monday.

Last year, the first scramble of the air-policing jets took place on January 18.

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