First two Spanish fighters land at Amari

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Photo: Kaitsevägi

Two fighter jets of the Spanish Air Force landed at the Amari air base in northwestern Estonia on Monday and another two are scheduled to reach Estonia on Tuesday to take part in the Baltic air policing mission as of January.

Two Eurofighter Typhoon jets of the Spanish Air Force landed at the Amari air base on Monday afternoon to start guarding Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at the beginning of January, spokespeople for the Estonian Defense Forces said. On Tuesday another two Spanish fighters are to reach Amari.

The Spanish airmen are to take over the Baltic air policing duties from Germans and the ceremony will take place at Amari on Jan. 2. The Spanish fighters will stay at Amari until the end of April.

The German mission began at the beginning of September and during that period the German Eurofighter Typhoon fighters have been scrambled 19 times. After handing over their duties, the German airmen will head back to their home base.

The airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is at present guarded by German fighters stationed at the Amari air base in Estonia, as well as Portuguese and Canadian fighters stationed at Siauliai, Lithuania, and Dutch fighters stationed at Malbork, Poland. In January Polish and Italian fighters will take over the mission in Lithuania while the mission in Poland will be handed over to Belgian fighters.

In response to Russia's actions in Ukraine, NATO sent additional fighter jets to Lithuania and Estonia earlier this year, and the United States deployed company sized contingents to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland.