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Polish Vipers Deploy To Lithuania

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miamiair (netAirspace FAA) 08 Jan 19, 13:07Post
Polish Air Force has just deployed four F-16 jets to Siauliai, Lithuania, to participate in the NATO Baltic Air Policing. Poland acts as the lead nation over the course of this rotation and it has taken over the duties from the Belgian Air Component working together with Germany (augmenting nation), with the Luftwaffe having its jets stationed at the Estonian Ämari Air Base.

Over the course of 2018 the NATO BAP assets were scrambled more than a hundred times.

Poland has been deeply involved in the Baltic Air Policing initiative since 2006. However, during most of the rotations the Polish Air Force deployed its MiG-29 jets to Siauliai. The deployment of the F-16s is a major shift here, with a dual meaning: first, since the MiG-29 is soon going to be phased out (the airframe has been in Polish service for nearly 3 decades now), it is a logical step to give the Viper drivers a chance to work in the Lithuanian airspace. Secondly, this would also provide the F-16 pilots with relevant, real life QRA duty experience, probably allowing the service to refine its approach towards such operations, should they involve the F-16 more often in the future.

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And let's get one thing straight. There's a big difference between a pilot and an aviator. One is a technician; the other is an artist in love with flight. — E. B. Jeppesen
 

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