Germany and Belgium take over NATO-led Baltic air-policing mission

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Germany and Belgium are taking over the NATO-led Baltic air policing mission from France, Spain and Portugal this week.

Four German Eurofighter aircraft replaced just as many Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets in an official ceremony at Estonia’s Amari air base on Thursday, the Estonian defense forces informed.

A Belgian contingent with four F-16 fighter jets will patrol Baltic airspace from Lithuania starting September, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said.

The Belgians will take over the lead of NATO's Baltic air-policing mission from the Portuguese and Spanish Air Forces in an official changeover ceremony at the Siauliai airbase on Friday.

This is the fourth Baltic air-policing deployment for Belgium in Lithuania. Also, the country's fighter-jets have thrice carried out the mission from Estonia.

Portugal in May deployed four fighter-jets to Siauliai and Spain augmented the mission with six fighters.

Fighter-jets from NATO member states have been patrolling the skies over Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on a rotational basis since the three nations, which do not have fighter aircraft of their own, joined the Alliance in 2004.

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