Baltic Air Policing: Portuguese F-16 fighters intercept two Russian aircraft

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office based on input provided by the Portuguese Air Force

The Portuguese F-16 fighter jets currently augmenting NATO's Baltic Air Policing at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, conducted their first alert scramble during their deployment on April 15.


In the early afternoon, the Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, scrambled the F-16 pilots for an alert take-off for their first intercept during their seventh deployment to the mission out of Lithuania.

Upon take-off, the F-16 twoship was tasked to approach two unidentified aircraft flying over international waters in the vicinity of NATO airspace. The Portuguese pilots identified two Russian military aircraft which were not on a flight plan and escorted them until they flew into the Kaliningrad Flight Information Region.



The mission was completed successfully, demonstrating the high state of readiness and proficiency of the entire Portuguese detachment. With their four F-16M fighter jets and a roughly 95-strong detachment, they joined the Spanish F/A-18 detachment that leads the 65th rotation of the Air Policing mission.

For 20 years, NATO Allies have taken turns deploying their fighter jets to Šiauliai Air Base and safeguard the airspace of the Baltic members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This strong and lasting signal of Alliance vigilance and commitment showcases the close cooperation and cohesion among Allies maintaining credible deterrence and defence in the region.




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