The Danish government, worried about the Russian movements on the Crimean peninsula, in Belarus and at the Nordic borders, has now offered six of its F-16 fighter jets to be forward deployed to Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania.
“If NATO wishes to strengthen the Baltic Air Policing, then 6 of our fighter jets will be able to fulfill this assignment as of 1 May 2014”, Danish defence minister Nicolai Wammen said on 27 March 2014 in a statement.
If NATO accepts the offer, it will be the fifth time the Flyvevåbnet provides Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with a scramble alert air coverage. The mission normally consists of four aircraft, but by offering six the Danes show their concern about the safety of NATO’s northern flank is profound.
Currently the US Air Force’s 493rd Fighter Squadron “Reapers” based at RAF Lakenheath has deployed ten Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F-15C Eagle air-supiority fighters to Šiauliai, plus a KC-135 from RAF Mildenhall.
Air Force of Denmark
The Royal Danish Air Force has about 93 active aircraft, with the sole fast combat assets being 30 F-16AM/BMs
operating out of Skrydstryp Airbase. See here a full overview of the Royal Danish Air Force.
Several Danish F-16s are just back from the desert of Nevada, flying realistic combat sorties during the famous exercise Red Flag. The Danish F-16s are normally based at Skrydstryp Airbase on the Danish mainland Jutland (Cimbria).
If NATO agrees with all propositions the Baltic Air Policing might be flown by three nations at the same time up till September, with four Polish Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrums planning to arrive in April to start with. The Royal Air Force likes to contribute with at least four Eurofighter Typhoons. The total mission force at Šiauliai could very well be 14 fighter jets, with possibly tankers support.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger with source information from Forsvaret / USAF