The French Air Force Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft that landed at Malbork Airbase in Poland on 28 April 2014, will be succeeded by Mirage 2000s. That is, according to the Polish Ministry of Defence. Since this month the French train together with the Polish Air Force and provide back-up for NATO’s Air Policing Mission over the Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
During a ceremony at Malbork Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said the Baltic Air Policing emphasized the “good old principle of NATO – one for all and all for one”. The politician and the military marked not only the arrival of the French Rafales, but also the departure of a quartet of Polish Air Force MiG-29s to Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania. “It’s a four month rotation, a very important mission”, said Mr. Siemoniak.
On 29 April two Armée de l’Air Rafale fighters escorted the first pair of Siły Powietrzne MiG-29s from their homebase – 22.BLT or Tactical Air Base – to Šiauliai. The second pair of the Fulcrums, as NATO calls the Russian made fighters, flew to Lithuania in the afternoon – as did the last part of the staff that will support the deployment.
While the French are teaming up with the Polish Fulcrums, the US Air Force is training together with Polish F-16s at Lask Airbase further south.
Source: Polish Ministry of Defence with additional reporting by AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger