German jets take to Estonian skies to protect the Baltics

Germany will be taking over the responsibility of supporting the Baltic Air Policing mission from Ämari Air Base in Estonia. From September until end of the year, up to six Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoon jets will patrol the skies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in coordination with NATO fighter jets already stationed in Lithuania.

German support forms a part of the NATO collective defence reassurance, offered to the Baltic states in the light of growing security concerns in eastern Europe. Germany has taken part of the air policing mission six times before, but it is the first time that the German jets will be based at the Ämari Air Base in Estonia.

The Baltic Air Policing mission was established in 2004, to assist Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who have no airborne air defence capability of their own and was extended indefinitely in February 2012. The aim of the mission is to prevent unauthorised incursion into the airspace of the Baltic states and its most frequent duty is intercepting Russian aircraft and escorting them from the area. To the west of the Baltic states’ airspace is an air corridor often used by aircraft travelling to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad from territorial Russia.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, confirmed in her recent visit to Latvia that the German government understands the security concerns of Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians.

“Germany is ready to play its part to fulfil the understandable and warranted need for protection for the people in Latvia and other Baltic states,“ Merkel said in Riga.

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Cover photo: Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoons.

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About the author: Silver Tambur

Silver Tambur is the cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Estonian World. He has previously studied journalism at the University of Tartu, and politics and society at the Birkbeck College, University of London. Silver has been the editor at the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s news service in English, as well as contributing for the Business Sense magazine in the UK, Deutsche Welle and Radio New Zealand. You can also follow him on Twitter and like his page on Facebook. You can write to Silver at silver@estonianworld.com.