The U.S. Air Force has accepted responsibility for the NATO Baltic air policing mission from Poland’s air force during a handover ceremony at the Sialuiai air base in Lithuania.
The Defense Department said Thursday that approximately 140 airmen and seven F-15C Eagle aircraft from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron have been deployed to Lithuania to lead the Baltic air policing rotation mission until the end of the year.
DoD noted that the NATO air policing peacetime collective defense mission helps defend the integrity of alliance members’ respective airspace.
The Baltic air policing mission supports the NATO Smart Defense model wherein allied countries perform operations using shared capacities and coordinated efforts to boost mission success.
Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of the NATO Allied Air Command and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, said that maintainers, mission supporters and operators from the U.S. will help defend the sovereign skies above Lithuania over the next four months.