Four French Air Force Mirage F1-CRs started their last month of patrolling the Baltic Sea. They have been operating from Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania since April 30th, 2013, as part of NATO’s commitment to protect the airspace of its most northeastern member states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
It are not always fancy Russian Bears or Blackjacks that ‘need’ an intercept, as is shown by a mission report of July 22nd released by the Armée de l’Air .
,,At 20:15 the sirens go off at Šiauliai airbase. Two Mirage F1-CRs take off for a mission to identify a ,,bogey” over the Baltic Sea. During this mission a light aircraft registered in Italy was intercepted, identified and escorted. It first was seen performing what could be interpreted as evasive maneuvers and it failed radio contact with air traffic control. Upon establishing radio contact with the Mirage F1-CR patrol, the French fighters escorted the intercepted airplane to its landing at Ventspils, Latvia.”
About 80 personnel support the French Mirage F1 operations over La mer Baltique. The Belgian Air Component takes over the job in September.
Source: Armée de l’Air