“Alliance Air Power, including Air Policing, is fundamental to, and visibly underpins, Alliance Deterrence and Collective Defence. Combined Air activities demonstrate NATO's interoperability and commitment to mutual defence and vigilance”, said General Tim Radford, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
Combined Air activities demonstrate NATO's interoperability and commitment to mutual defence and vigilance
Wing Commander Stu Gwinnutt, the Officer Commanding RAF 135 Expeditionary Air Wing deployed to Siauliai Air Base said, “We are really pleased to welcome our German Air Force friends here to Lithuania; to continue this cooperation is a great opportunity for learning in an operational environment.”
Wing Commander Stu Gwinnutt welcoming Lieutenant Colonel Andreas Beckmann to Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, July 15, 2020. Photo by UK MOD.
The Luftwaffe Eurofighter detachment commander for Tactical Fighter Wing 71 “Richthofen” (Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 71 “Richthofen”), Lieutenant Colonel Andreas Beckmann will integrate his team of just 30 personnel into the EAW.
Lieutenant Colonel Andreas Beckmann said, “being part of this programme enhances our capability to achieve the steps towards the plug & fight concept, one of which is a conscious reduction in our footprint without a reduction in reaction times for operational output”.
German Air Force Eurofighter fighters following arrival at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, July 15, 2020. Photo by UK MOD.
The ‘Plug & Fight’ concept as a force package is the smallest contingent of personnel and aircraft, with the aim of common flight operations which can very quickly dock into an existing operations laydown of a partner nation. This concept will provide an enhanced multinational capacity to act together with European partners on current training and eventually, operations.
The Typhoons operating under 135 EAW normally operate out of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, and the Eurofighters of 71 Fighter Squadron, based in Wittmund in Northern Germany, will be taking over the Baltic Air Policing mission from Estonia later this year.