French Air Force Dassault Rafale B with serial 342 taking off from Nancy during Green Shield 2014 (Image © Dennis Spronk)

French Rafales: NATO’s back-up in Poland

French Air Force Dassault Rafale B with serial 342 taking off from Nancy during Green Shield 2014 (Image © Dennis Spronk)
French Air Force Dassault Rafale B with serial 342 taking off from Nancy during Green Shield 2014
(Image © Dennis Spronk)

As expected the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air) is sending fighter aircraft to Poland to back-up NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. The French Ministry of Defence confirmed it will be four Dassault Rafale aircraft and they will deploy to Malbork Airbase.

Malbork, a Polish Air Force MiG-29 base, is located very close to the Baltic Sea and the the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad. The French Rafales are due to arrive on Monday 28 April for a deployment that could last four months. Plans are to train together with the Polish Air Force jets and to provide air coverage for NATO’s north eastern flank facing Russia. Officially unconfirmed, sources within the French armed forces say the jets will come from both Saint-Dizier and Mont-de-Marsan.

The French are the back-up of the Baltic Air Policing mission rotation from May to September. Four Polish MiG-29s and four Royal Air Force Typhoons being sent to Lithuania. A quartet of Danish F-16s will operate from Estonia, where USAFE F-15s have this week tested the new to use Ämari Airbase for fighter operations. Danish airbase Skrydstryp will retain a third pair of RDAF F-16s, ready to be deployed in case its needed.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

Related posts

A Polish Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum-A taking off from Berlin-Schönefeld during an airshow in 2008. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Polish Air Force MiG-29, training partner of the French Rafale detachment at Malbork (Image © Elmer van Hest)