RECENTLY, Permanent Representatives to NATO from nations across the Alliance attended Amari Airbase to witness the ongoing work of the RAF’s 140 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) who are undertaking NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission.
The UK’s Permanent Representative (PermRep) to NATO, David Quarrey CMG, discussed various current affairs matters with the EAW command team, including the current intelligence picture across NATO’s Eastern Flank and the upcoming NATO Summit at Vilnius. He also witnessed a training scramble involving IX (B) Sqn Typhoon fighter jets, showcasing the speed at which the RAF can respond to any potential threat.
‘This was an excellent opportunity to showcase the work that we have already achieved here and the brilliant training opportunities that we have planned in the near future. I believe our discussions with Mr Quarrey regarding upcoming ACE exercises have given him an insight into the art of the possible within the wider NATO construct and how the Alliance can effectively deter, disperse and defend against any potential adversary.’
Wg Cdr MacColl
CO 140 EAW
The RAF is deployed on Operation AZOTIZE as part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission. IX (B) Sqn Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth deployed at the end of February as part of 140 EAW and were employed in the Air Policing role as an integrated force alongside German Air Force Eurofighters of the 71st ‘Richtofen’ Wing. At the start of May, the RAF took over Air Policing duties in Estonia as the sole nation.
Whilst conducting their primary mission on Operation AZOTIZE, RAF personnel have been participating in various high-end exercises designed to replicate a multitude of air-to-air and air-to-ground scenarios. As the operation timeline progresses, personnel will begin to participate in a greater number of exercises designed to test the RAF’s ability to forward deploy from an already deployed location. This is known as the Agile Combat Employment (ACE) model and will provide the UK MOD with greater flexibility, choice and resilience during future operations and periods of crisis.
The deployment is also providing the RAF with opportunities to work alongside NATO air and ground-based assets that would not be regularly based in the UK. The RAF will fulfil NATO’s Air Policing Mission in Estonia until August when 140 EAW will hand over the task to the Spanish Air Force.